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February 14 2022 12:00 am

Remains in Kentucky identified as woman reported missing in 1973


Bourbon mixes with water in the Kentucky River, Wednesday, July 3, 2019, following an overnight fire at a Jim Beam distillery in Woodford County, Ky. Firefighters from four counties responded to the blaze that erupted late Tuesday. (Pat McDonogh/Courier Journal via AP)

LEXINGTON, KY (AP) — Officials say human remains found in the Kentucky River five years ago have been identified as a woman who was reported missing in 1973.

Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn told news outlets Wednesday that the remains belong to Martha Smith Helmick, of Bridgewater, Virginia. Helmick was one of three people reported missing in August 1973.

Ginn said the three were traveling to Jessamine County for a family reunion but never arrived. In 2016, Lexington firefighters were training and found human remains in a car at the bottom of the Kentucky River.

Ginn said diligent research by Lexington Fire Capt. Chris Warren and new DNA technology helped confirm the identification.

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