Anecdota

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Cold Case Cracked After 46 Years


YOU’RE LOOKING AT THE 26-YEAR-OLD ARRESTED AT EDISON HIGH SCHOOL LAST WEEK. HE’S FACING SEVERAL FELONY CHARGES. A 46-YEAR MYSTERY IS OVER AFTER THE REMAIN OF A MISSING NEVADA CITY MOTHER WERE LINKED TO A COLD CASE. MARISSA PERLMAN SPOKE WITH THE WOMAN’S SON WHO STILL HAS QUESTIONS. SHE DROVE OFF. THAT WAS THE LAST TIME I REMEMBER SEEING HER. Reporter: PHILIP DESMET JUST 3 AT THE TIME SAYS THAT MEMORY OF HIS MOTHER, JOANNE BURMER, IS STILL SO VIV VID ALL THESE YEARS LATER. I REMEMBER BEING UPSET BECAUSE SHE WAS LEAVING TO GO SOMEWHERE WITHOUT ME. I REMEMBER RUNNING TO THE DOOR, THE WINDOW AS SHE WAS GETTING INTO A VEHICLE. Reporter: BURR MER DROVE AWAY WITH FRIENDS WHO DROPPED HER OFF NEAR HIGHWAY 20, LEAVING HER SON BEHIND. THAT IS ME WITH MY MOM WHEN I WAS 13 DAYS OLD. Reporter: DESMET, WHO WAS BORN ROBERT BURMER, WAS EVENTUALLY ADOPTED. AND THAT COUPLE CHANGED HIS NAME TO PHILLIP. HE’S FOLLOWED HIS MOTHER’S CASE AND COLLECTED PHOTOS OF HIS FAMILY FOR DECADES. GROWING UP, HE STILL HAD A RELATIONSHIP WITH RUTH, HIS BIOLOGICAL GRANDMOTHER AND JOANNE’S MOM. I WOULD ASK QUESTIONS HERE AND THERE. NOT VERY FORTHCOMING. I FOUND A FILE FOR A CASE FROM 1993. Reporter: THEN LIEUTENANT BOB JAKOBS WITH THE NEVADA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE LOOKS AT THE CASE. HE NOTICES A REPORT OF A HUMAN SKULL FOUND OFF HIGHWAY 20 IN 1993. A MAN HAD, BY CHANCE, FOUND IT WHILE HARVESTING WOOD AND TURNED IT INTO THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE. THE FILE WENT INTO A FILE CABINET. NOT SURE IF ANYBODY EVER LOOKED AT IT FROM THAT POINT FORWARD. Reporter: BUT THAT SKULL HAD NEVER BEEN TESTED FOR DNA. AT THAT TIME IN ’93, DNA WAS NOT IN USE FOR MISSING AND UNIDENTIFIED PERSONS CASES. DNA WASN’T ON THE RADAR. Reporter: TWO YEARS LATER A MATCH IS MADE. THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAD DESMET’S DNA. TO HIM IT MEANS CLOSURE FOR HIS ENTIRE BIOLOGICAL FAMILY. THEN THEY FINELY MATCHED THE DNA TO ME. BECAUSE MY GRANDMOTHER, IT’S GOING TO BE MORE CLOSURE FOR HER. YOU GOT TO FEEL FOR HIM. THOSE COLD CASES ARE AMAZING.

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