Heights human remains found in crawl space closer to being ID'd, police believe

By Brandon Walker - Reporter

HOUSTON - Forensic investigators are having a tough time identifying remains that were found in a Heights home last March.

A woman's remains were found in the crawl space of a house in the 600 block of Allston Street.

A new resident made the discovery.

Mary Cerutti, 61, lived at the house, but hadn't been seen since September 2015. A missing persons report was filed on her behalf.

The remains were found a year and a half later, but authorities are having a difficult time identifying them.

Sharon Derrick, an identification manager and a forensic anthropologist at the Harris County Center for Forensic Scienses, has been working on identifying the remains since the night they were uncovered.

"The remains were in poor condition. It had been a couple of years if we're right about who it is," Derrick said.

PHOTOS: New clues into Heights human remains found

Investigators believe the remains are Cerutti, "However, we can't just go on what we think."

Investigators sent samples of mitochondrial DNA from the remains to a specialized lab at the University of North Texas. There, scientists compared it to several of Cerutti's male cousins.

But since mitochondrial DNA is passed on from the mother and the cousins were related to Cerutti's father, the DNA could not be matched.

Investigators are hoping eyeglasses found near the remains will help identify the woman.

"We don't have as much information from the body as we really would like to have and we don't have the relatives because her parents are deceased. She has no siblings," Derrick said.

Officials urge anyone with information about Cerutti to call the Harris County Center for Forensic Science at 832-927-5000.

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