Woman Slain in Horrific 1994 California Cold Case Was an Oneida Native
The victim of a 1994 cold case death in Riverside, California has been identified as an elderly woman who was originally from Oneida, according to authorities.
Patricia Cavallaro, born on March 22, 1937 in the city of Oneida, was recently identified after police used DNA evidence to make the positive ID. Over the last 27 years, the woman was simply identified as a white elderly woman, who was found murdered and partially buried in the desert in the Palms area in Riverside County, California.
Last year, the Riverside County DA’s Regional Cold Case Homicide Team had a DNA sample created for the purposes of forensic genealogy, according to a release from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. "That sample was obtained using the services of a private lab, Texas-based Othram Inc. Using genetic matches, the Cold Case Team was able to locate a potential match. A biological child was found, and a DNA sample was submitted to the state Missing and Unidentified Persons System."
In mid-December, the California Department of Justice released a report offering their strong conclusion that the deceased woman was actually Cavallaro, who had been reported missing by her husband in 2001, and not seen by her son in more than 30 years, according to the New York Post. Authorities told the Post that neither the husband or her son are considered suspects. Police told the Post that cause of death has not been determined, but her decomposed body was found "partially buried in the sand and wrapped in a white plastic sheet tied with a brown cord and partially exposed to the elements," in 1994. A police report stated that the body had been undiscovered buried in the shallow grave for approximately 1 to 3 months.
Cavallaro left Oneida and moved to Bellflower, California in 1956 after she was married. She lived there with her husband and two children until her disappearance in 1994, according to the Post.
According to media reports, authorities used a private DNA service company called GEDmatch.com to trace Cavallaro's family tree in an effort to track down family members. Cavallaro's husband died in 2017.
It's unknown if Cavallaro still has relatives living today in the Oneida area.