Remains of Local Woman Who Disappeared Decades Ago Identified with Help of Montco Detective

Marie Heiser, image via New Castle County Police, New York Times.

The remains of Marie Heiser, a homemaker and part-time employee at former Ashbourne Country Club in Cheltenham, have been identified nearly a half-century after her disappearance, writes Michael Levenson for The New York Times.

William Heiser Jr., her son, recalled the day his father told him and his sister that their mother had left them.

“He just said she just packed up her stuff and left,” said Heiser.

Some years later, remains were discovered that had been unidentified for more than four decades. Investigators were able to extract a DNA profile from the remains in 2008 but this failed to lead to a match even after being added to the national database.

In 2019, Montgomery County police officer Md. Steven Smugeresky took over the ancestry research on the DNA from a Parabon NanoLabs forensic artist and worked tirelessly to develop leads to find the identity of the person.

After following up on these leads, the New Castle County Police was finally able to identify Marie Heiser and notify her children.

“It was a shock to us,” said her son. “You’re never expecting a phone call like that, ever.”

Read more about Marie Heiser in The New York Times.