PLACER COUNTY – On December 27, 2023, The Placer County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) announced on a Facebook post that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Forensic Services has assisted in the identification of a person reported missing from the South Lake Tahoe area in 1971.
In 1971, Donna Lass was reported as a missing person to the South Lake Tahoe Police Department. The investigative leads surrounding the disappearance of Lass were exhausted and the case remained unsolved.
In 1986, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office located an unidentified skull off of Hwy 20 near Interstate 80. There was no additional evidence located at the time, so the skull was preserved at the county coroner’s office pending further advancements in forensic technology. The case was classified as an unidentified Jane Doe investigation.
Recently, PCSO sent the skull to the California Department of Justice in an attempt to utilize DNA technology to identify it. The California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services was able to match the DNA of the skull with the DNA from a member of Donna Lass’s family which was obtained by South Lake Tahoe Police Department for their missing persons case. This lead to the identification of the skull as the remains of Donna Lass.
Last week, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department notified Donna Lass’ surviving family members of the identification. The South Lake Tahoe Police Department will look into any future leads regarding this case.