The identity of an adult woman whose savagely severed legs were found in a Rancho San Diego dumpster in 2003 has finally been traced back to a gruesome and cold-blooded murder case.

Fifty-four-year-old Laurie Diane Potter’s remains were first found on Oct. 5, 2003, in a trash bin behind an apartment in the 1600 block of Hilton Head Court.

Jack Dennis Potter, 68, the husband of the Temecula woman victim, has emerged as the primary suspect in the eighteen-year-old cold case of his wife’s disappearance and murder, reported NBC7 San Diego. The suspect recently pleaded not guilty during a pre-trial.

Investigators have reportedly uncovered "substantial and conclusive evidence" that Potter murdered his wife, revealed Sheriff's Lieutenant Thomas Seiver. The police officer added that the cause of death and the suspected motive for the woman’s killing has not been accertained.

According to CBS8, Potter was arrested last week at his Rancho Cucamonga apartment and is currently being held without bail at the San Diego Central Jail. In addition to the murder of his wife, Potter also faces three felony counts of perjury allegedly committed in 2008 and 2009.

The identity of Laurie Potter, who was a Temecula resident at the time of her death, was finally discovered using a technology called genetic genealogy testing, Seiver revealed.

Genetic genealogy inputs a DNA sample into public genetic databases in order to trace and find potential relatives. Investigators then construct a family tree from matches that, they hope, can lead them to identify either a victim or suspect. The same technology was used to capture the infamous Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo.

This technique led investigators to Potter’s son in December 2020, and with his genetic testing, detectives confirmed that the severed legs were Potter’s, reported KPBS.

"This case was unlikely to have ever been solved without the use of investigative genetic genealogy," said Seiver. Laurie Potter was never reported missing, he added. Potter's family believed she was still alive, said Troy DuGal, a detective with the sheriff's Cold Case Homicide Unit.

Seiver said the case is the first in the San Diego region in which the technology was used to identify a homicide victim. DuGal revealed that genetic genealogy was used on two prior occasions to identify some homicide suspects and that unfortunately, both the suspects were dead by the time they were identified.

Severed Legs
representational image. PIXABAY

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