A woman was crossing the Pacific Coast Highway on April 1, 1990, when two separate cars struck and killed her. From fingerprints to police sketches, no identification of the woman ever occurred, going so far as to feature her story on the hit TV series Unsolved Mysteries. 27 years later, the mystery can be laid to rest, as the woman has been identified as Andrea Kuiper, a woman who had recently moved to California from Virginia who hadn't met many people in the area and had experienced a falling out with her family back home.
"We never forgot her and would regularly pull out her file to see if we could think of anything new to try," Supervising Deputy Coroner Kelly Keyes explained in a statement. "The investigators at the Coroner's Office never stopped trying to figure out who she was."
The revelation came through a partnership between the FBI and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a database that compiled cold cases of missing persons. Thanks to the combined efforts of the two organizations, authorities were able to access the fingerprint database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's hiring history.
Kuiper, who was 26 at the time of her death, worked for the Department of Agriculture at one point, adding her prints to the registry. Once that information showed up in the combined resources, authorities found their match.
The Orange County Coroner Division contacted authorities in Kuiper's former hometown to relay the message to her family, who could finally find peace over their missing daughter.
In a press release issued by the family, Andrea's father, Richard, said, "We are thankful to know what happened to our daughter after all these years."
The falling out occurred between the family members due to Andrea's drug use, in addition to her manic depressive disorder. The last update they had ever received about their daughter was a few months before her death when a friend told the family she was doing fine.
Despite how long it had been since Andrea's disappearance, Richard said he had still hoped Andrea would arrive at his house with a "car full of beautiful children."
Premiering in the late '80s, Unsolved Mysteries was a true crime series that explored missing persons, unexplained murders, conspiracy theories, and even dabbled in the paranormal, seeking answers for UFOs, alien abductions, and ghosts.
The show used both documentary footage and dramatic re-enactments of the events it explored.
The popular series ran until 2002 and underwent a revival in 2008, which lasted two years. Cosgrove-Meurer Productions continues to maintain a website centered around the series where viewers can submit stories, even though the show is no longer on the air.