How genetic genealogy helped uncover the fate of a girl who disappeared 68 years ago in Montreal

Rosemarie Doederlein was 14 when her mother sent her to a bakery a few blocks from their Notre-Dame-de-Grâce apartment one afternoon in late 1954, a couple of months after she had arrived in Montreal from Germany with her parents and younger sister. She didn’t speak English or French.

She never returned home, and the police found no trace of her, until now.

Vera Doderlein Hastie created the website, missinggermangirl.com,
and an online flyer to help find her sister’s whereabouts.

Rosemarie’s sister, Vera Doederlein Hastie, who now lives in California, said her parents spent the rest of their lives looking for her.

Thanks to genetic genealogy, she now knows what happened to her sister, but still doesn’t know why.

The Montreal Gazette yesterday reported, “Through the efforts of a Toronto police detective, a social media campaign and, mostly, third-party DNA obtained through a consumer DNA genetic testing kit, it has been determined that Rosemarie turned up in Ontario in 1957 and married at 16, had a family, lived a full life and died at 69.”

Ms. Hastie’s daughter said she and her mother shared their story to raise awareness about the role of consumer DNA kits in solving missing persons’ cases and to encourage people to buy them — perhaps as Christmas gifts — and to upload their DNA to the sites to help law enforcement with missing persons’ cases.

You can read the story about Rosemarie in the Montreal Gazette. If the article is behind a pay wall for you, you may be able to read it through an MSN link or by Googling “Rosemarie Doederlein.”

It’s quite a story.

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