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Missing Arizona mom cold case now a murder investigation as remains identified

DNA technology has positively identified skeletal remains as belonging to an Arizona mom who went missing in 1986.
DNA technology has positively identified skeletal remains as belonging to an Arizona mom who went missing in 1986.
via Eva Rovang /

The cold case of a young Arizona mom who went missing in November 1986 has evolved into a homicide investigation after skeletal remains found near Phoenix in 1988 have now been positively identified through DNA testing as the remains belonging to missing mom Julie Grubaugh.

ABC News reported on April 5 that police in Phoenix are crediting advances in DNA technology to being able to positively identify Grubaugh’s remains.

Grubaugh’s sister in Michigan, Eva Rovang, first reported 25-year-old Julie missing on Nov. 27, 1986 after Julie “moved from Michigan to Arizona with her two small children and her ex-husband.”

The last time anyone ever saw Grubaugh is when her ex-husband, Doug, informed police that he had dropped her off at a “downtown Greyhound bus station on Nov. 2, 1986.” Previously, Grubaugh and her husband separated, reconciled, and then moved to Arizona for a “fresh start.”

In April 1988, skeletal remains were discovered in a field by a hunter about 50 miles from Phoenix in the Arizona wilderness of Pinal County.

The missing mom's sister wrote on

We filed a missing persons report on November 27, 1986. Through the years I have talked to many Detectives in Phoenix Arizona Police Department about her case. At one point I had requested that her case be updated to a Homicide, but they said, without a body, they could not.

In the summer of 2013, Detective Somershoe of Phoenix Police Department, Missing Persons Division, picked up Julie's cold case, contacted me and requested a DNA test from my brother Perry Rutterbush, Dennis Grubaugh (Julie's Son) and I, Eva Rovang.

On November 19th, Detective Somershoe, called and informed me that they had a match. Julie's remains had been found on April 16, 1988 by a duck hunter, in the middle of a field, in Pinal County, Arizona.

Julie Grubaugh has been laying in a morgue for the past 25 years as a Jane Doe. Her case is now considered a Homicide.

Although those remains have now been positively identified as belonging to Grubaugh, police still have no suspects in connection with her abduction and murder.

Somershoe “wants to talk with anyone who knew Julie or interacted with her who might have information that could assist in the investigation,” according to Petoskey News.

Somershoe can be reached by phone at (602) 261-8065. The department also has an anonymous tip line which is 1(800) 343-TIPS.

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