Experts at the FBI’s laboratory in Virginia have been unable to determine if a skull fragment found last month at Joshua Tree National Monument is that of Laura Bradbury, a missing Huntington Beach girl.
On Oct. 18, 1984, Laura, then 3, vanished near the family’s Indian Cove campsite.
FBI experts “weren’t able to find anything in addition to what we already knew,” Capt. Dean Knadler of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.
The fragment, found by hikers less than two miles from where Laura was last seen, belonged to a child between the ages of 2 and 5 who had been dead for about 18 months, according to a finding by Judy Suchey, a forensic anthropologist at Cal State Fullerton.
Neither Suchey nor the FBI has been able to narrow the age range or determine the sex or blood type.
“Our feeling is that since no other bones or articles of clothing were found, it’s hard for us to believe that it’s Laura,” said Patty Bradbury, the child’s mother. “We were hoping something definitive could be determined, but that didn’t happen.”
Investigators, Knadler said, are “right where we were to begin with. We know we’ve got the remains of a child that are in the Indian Cove campground. The only child that fits into that category is Laura Bradbury. The time frame is consistent. We can’t say definitively that it’s her.”
The case, which is still being pursued as a missing person and possible kidnaping, is not closed, Knadler said.
“The search is going,” said Patty Bradbury. “We’re not going to stop now.”
She said that a storefront volunteer center in Huntington Beach is preparing to distribute 20,000 new flyers with an “age-enhanced” drawing of Laura as one artist believes she would look today at the age of 4 1/2.
Mike Bradbury, the girl’s father, said earlier this month that the family feels Laura was kidnaped and sold by a black-market adoption ring.