Human remains found in a burned house almost 50 years ago have finally been identified as a missing University of Minnesota student.
Authorities announced Wednesday that remains discovered after a fire on November 10, 1970 were that of Gloria Frieda Rieken. They were found at a burned property on Keystone Road, north of Milaca in Mille Lacs County, Minnesota,
A native of Hayfield, Minnesota, Rieken was an 18-year-old student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She left her apartment on foot to attend school on an early November morning in 1970 and never arrived.
Her whereabouts were a mystery until last week, when a DNA match was confirmed after her cold case was re-opened.
At the time the remains were found, medical examiners were able to determine that the remains belonged to a young female, but couldn't officially identify her.
They did, however, say that the fire did not cause her death.
“Learning her identity gave us our first break in this case in nearly a half century,” said Mille Lacs County Sheriff Don Lorge. “Now we can try to piece together how she came to be in Mille Lacs County, and hopefully, how she died.”
They are seeking the public's help for any information from old friends of Rieken's, as well as any information that can provide a link between her and Mille Lacs County.
Members of Rieken's family were present at a press conference on Monday, with her brother Rich speaking to the media.
"She went to college aspiring to do well, looking forward to her future ... and then she was gone," he said, noting that his sister was a talented artist, a big fan of Peanuts cartoons and Bob Dylan, and previously campaigned for Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale.