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Remains found in Tysons identified as teen who disappeared 47 years ago

Police have identified the remains of Patricia Gildawie, a 17-year-old Fairfax City resident who went missing in 1975 (via FCPD)

Human remains discovered by a drainage ditch in Tysons over two decades ago have been linked to a teen who went missing back in 1975, Fairfax County police announced today (Monday).

With help from the private forensics lab Othram Inc., cold case detectives have identified the remains found behind the Post apartments in 2001 as those of Patricia Agnes Gildawie, a Fairfax City resident who disappeared when she was 17.

Also known by the nickname “Choubi,” Gildawie was last seen on Feb. 8, 1975. At that time, she had been dating an older man who worked at an upholstery store near the intersection of Church Street and Lawyers Road in Vienna, the Fairfax County Police Department says based on information shared by her half-sister.

According to the department, Gildawie was born in France in February 1958 before coming to the U.S. when she was 8 months old. She moved to Fairfax in the early 1970s and was known to drive a white Cadillac Eldorado with red interior.

The skeletal remains now identified as Gildawie’s were found on Sept. 27, 2001, in the 1500 block of Lincoln Circle by a construction crew, according to police:

A construction crew found the remains behind an apartment complex along with some clothing. The remains were recovered and reviewed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and an anthropologist. This initial review determined the female died from a gunshot wound to the head. This report further indicated the remains were like that of an African American female in her late teens to early 20s.

Detectives partnered with Othram on the case earlier this year, thanks to funding from anonymous donors through the site DNASolves.

Othram’s advanced DNA testing and forensic-grade genome sequencing determined that the remains, in fact, belonged to a Caucasian woman and identified Gildawie’s half-sister as a possible relative, according to the FCPD.

“Identifying this young woman solves a mystery that has been more than 47 years in the making,” Ed O’Carroll, FCPD’s Bureau Commander of Major Crimes and Cyber and Forensics, said. “Our community should take comfort in knowing that our detectives never stop working these cases. Advancements in technology have given my Cold Case detectives an opportunity to pursue fresh leads and bring some relief to families that have been long suffering with the unknown.”

The department says its detectives are continuing to investigate Gildawie’s case using the new information provided by her family.

Information about the case can be submitted anonymously to police through Fairfax County Crime Solvers.

The FCPD has partnered with Othram to investigate several cold cases recently, including the mystery of the “Christmas Tree Lady” who died by suicide in Annandale in 1996.