LIHUE — Thanks to Claire Ueno, there was a little closure in a cold case.
For her hard work, the juvenile counselor with the Kauai Police Department was awarded employee of the month for her role in identifying the remains in a high profile but decades old missing persons case.
The honor came Friday at the County of Kauai Police Commission meeting in Lihue.
Lieutenant Bryson Ponce noted that for the past several years Ueno has handled missing persons, runaways, juvenile case and other duties.
But it was her work in helping to identify the partial remains of 20-year-old Nancy Ellen Baugh that earned her the honor. Baugh was abducted after the murder of her boyfriend in Hanalei on the night of June 2, 1979. Her partial remains were found in the Waioli Stream in March 2012.
The bones were thought to be ancient and sat secured in evidence with the overload of cases for almost a year, Ponce said. In 2013, Ueno was reviewing missing persons cases and noticed there was never any DNA obtained from the family for matching in the Baugh case.
Later, they were able to obtain DNA and pursued information that resulted in matching the missing persons report with the newly discovered remains.
“This helped to bring closure to the Baugh family,” Ponce said
Nobody has been arrested in the case. The department is investigating.