PBSO learns woman’s name 36 years after dog walker finds her remains

More than three decades after the skeletal remains of a woman have been found In The Acreage, investigators with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office learned his name.

They now want to identify his killer.

PBSO announced Tuesday that it has opened a homicide investigation into the death of Pati Lisa Rust, the agency’s most recent victim identified through the use of forensic genealogy. A dog walker found her remains on Dec. 20, 1987, in a stand of trees near the intersection of 130th Avenue and 72nd Road North, about a mile northwest of Acreage Community Park.

For more than 30 years, his identity remained a mystery, even after his DNA was entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, in 2005. But the sheriff’s office credited his partnership with the lab Othram based in Texas and a 2023 state grant to his Cold Case unit to help uncover Rust’s identity.

Cracked Cold Case: PBSO uses DNA to identify 1980s murder victim, hopes to find killer next

DNA technology used to match unidentified victims to their loved ones

Investigators say Pati Rust’s remains were found by a passerby in Royal Palm Beach on December 20, 1987. On February 6, 2024, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Rust’s identity was confirmed through to the use of forensic genealogy technology.

The technology has been credited in recent identifications of other cold case victims, along with forensic genealogists. match DNA samples from anonymous victims to relatives.

PBSO announced in December the identities of two men in separate unsolved cases, including a man whose remains were found buried in a shallow grave near Greenacres nearly four decades ago.

PBSO identified the man as Terry Ketron, with deputies saying they believed he traveled from Kentucky to South Florida in the 1980s with a woman known only to investigators as Connie or Bonnie. They are still trying to find out his identity.

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