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Missoula County, MT – Thirty-six years after a woman’s remains were discovered in Missoula County, Montana, authorities have been able to identify her as 23-year-old Janet Lee Lucas from Spokane.

In 1985, a bear hunter came across the skeletal remains of the Spokane woman near Missoula County’s Crystal Lake, according to the statement released by Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

“Despite decades of work with forensic anthropologists and a forensic odontologist, and hours of research scouring missing persons databases here and in Canada, her identity remained a mystery.” the Sheriff Office states. The remains became known among the department as “Christy Crystal Creek”.

Earlier this year with the financial assistance from the Montana Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program, the Sheriff’s Cold Case Unit has been able to work with Othram labs to identify the remains. They have been able to identify DNA relatives and family trees that led to Janet’s family in Spokane, WA. They followed up with interviews from Lucas’ family members, while also conducting additional DNA. The Sheriff’s Office were able to identify the remains as Lucas’.

Janet was born in October 1960. She grew up in California and Washington and had seven brothers and sisters. Janet also had a son who was five years old when she went missing; he has spent much of his adult life searching for his mom.

Due to the close proximity to where Janet’s remains were found, and the remains of Debbie Deer Creek, the Cold Case Unit are reviewing evidence and reports from the Wayne Nance case file to establish any link between Nance and Lucas.

“The focus has changed from ‘Who is Christy Crystal Creek?’ to “What happened to Janet Lucas? This is now a cold case investigation and we need your help,” stated Detective Captain Dave Conway.

The Cold Case Unit and the Missoula County’s Sheriff Office are looking into all available information submitted to them over the past three decades, including new information provided by Lucas’ family.

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