DNA tests link remains to teen who went missing in 1974

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Remains exhumed from an unmarked grave in the Potter's Field in Cleveland belonged to missing teen, according to the medical examiner's office.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office, the Akron Police Department, and the Cleveland Metroparks Rangers held a news conference Thursday to update the public on the disappearance of Linda Pagano.

Pagano disappeared in 1974 after having an argument with her stepfather and getting kicked out of the home, police said.

She was never seen or heard from again.

She was reported missing.

In 1975, 3 teen boys found skeletal remains in the Metroparks area. It was determined the remains were of a young white woman who died from a gunshot wound to the head.

She was buried in the Potter's Field in Cleveland.

"We never give up on trying to identify these folks," said Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office Dr. Thomas Gilson.

In 2016, a detective working on cold cases for the Akron Police Department, entered data into a national database and a link was developed at that time.

"The body was later exhumed and DNA was used from family members to confirm the identity was Linda Pagano," said Akron Police Chief Deputy Jesse Leeser.

Pagano had two siblings. Her brother Michael spoke during the news conference.

"I thought this day would never come. I figured I would die wondering," said Pagano's brother, Michael Pagano.

"We're committed to pursuing any leads in this case and if possible, bringing Linda's killer to justice," said Lt. Don Sylvis, Cleveland Metroparks ranger.

Lt. Sylvis said the first step will be conducting interviews.

One of the last people to see Pagano was her stepfather, who has since died.

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