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Search engine helps police identify hit-and-run victim

Associated Press

MOXEE, Wash. – Unable to identify a pedestrian who died in an apparent hit-and-run crash more than a decade ago, authorities turned to Google. In little more than a week, they had their man.

Now they’re redoubling their efforts to determine who was responsible for the death of David Glen Lewis, 39, of Amarillo, Texas.

Lewis had no known ties to the area, and his presence in central Washington is also a mystery, Washington State Patrol Detective Pat Ditter said Wednesday.

Relatives believe he was kidnapped.

Lewis was reported missing by his wife after she returned from a weekend shopping trip to Dallas over Super Bowl weekend in 1993.

About 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, 1993, passing motorists said they saw a man on Washington 24 outside this town east of Yakima, turned around and tried to warn other motorists, then returned and found him dead, Ditter said.

Over the years, investigators in Yakima and Amarillo combed through missing-person databases in vain.

Ditter said he turned to Google, a widely used Internet search engine, after reading a news story on unsolved missing-person cases. After a week he was focusing on about a dozen cases.

Finally, he came across a distinctive pair of glasses in a photograph on the Web sites of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Doe Network.

On Monday officials at a laboratory in Texas confirmed a DNA match between the long-unidentified pedestrian and Lewis’ mother, and the family was notified the next day.

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