Lake Tahoe Cold Case: 4 Decades-Old Mystery

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The South Lake Tahoe Police Department said in a news release Wednesday that at the time, investigators had exhausted all leads surrounding the disappearance of Lass and the case remained unsolved.

Lass was a nurse at a casino in Stateline, Nevada, which is just northeast of South Lake Tahoe, when she vanished, according to 1970s newspaper clippings.

She was last seen on Sept. 7, 1970, walking with a young, blonde man near the apartment she had rented the day before, the newspaper reported. Lass left behind her new car, a large wardrobe and a bank account.

Despite the efforts by police and private investigators hired by Lass’s family, the case remained unsolved, and the whereabouts of Donna Lass remained a mystery for over four decades.

Lake Tahoe Cold Case

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office cold case team sent the preserved skull out for DNA testing. 

The breakthrough in the cold case came when the California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services successfully matched the DNA from the skull with a sample obtained from a member of Donna Lass’s family.