In November 2005, the state medical examiner's office held its first bilingual news conference in an effort to identify two men whose skeletal remains were found scattered in a wooded area in Bourbon County.
Deer hunters found the remains on Nov. 13. The men had been beaten and shot in late summer or early fall, investigators said at the news conference held in both English and Spanish five days after the bodies were found.
Tips from Spanish-speaking residents led investigators to the mothers of the two men. The women's DNA matched that of DNA taken from the men's bones.
On Thursday, the Bourbon County Coroner's Office released the victims' names:
Miniamin Osorio Lazaro, 19, of Oaxaca, Mexico, and Francisco Aldaba, 28, of Chihuahua, Mexico.
"It was because of that bilingual press conference that police got their first leads as to the identification of these people," state forensic anthropologist Emily Craig said. "Their first accurate tips were immediately following the press conference."
Kentucky State Police are still investigating the deaths, Bourbon County Deputy Coroner DeeGee Ison said.
Craig said it took a lot of time to contact families, and neither of the men had medical or dental records.
She said the process to identify the men started at the scene, a private property at 901 Stoney Point Road near North Middletown.
About 200 bones for each of the men were commingled in the area, and careful notes were taken regarding the surroundings to help determine how and when the men died.
It's more than collecting bones, Craig said.
"I hate to say 'collecting' because people think it's like an Easter egg hunt," she said. "The scene investigation and the recovery of the remains takes a long time. You don't just go around and pick up bones."
Craig said she spent about two days in the area.
The press conference was held after it was determined that the victims were from Central or South American descent, Craig said.
Tips to police helped investigators obtain names of presumed victims.
The state medical examiner's office contacted the families for DNA reference samples, which was compared to DNA from the bones of the victims.
"Getting DNA from bones is not as simple as it looks on television," Craig said.
She said there were only two labs in the country that did the DNA testing for free through a federal initiative, and the process takes about a year.
Craig said the time frame for solving the case wasn't unusual because DNA testing takes so long. But the pieces of the puzzle finally came together.
"The most difficult thing in this case was working across international borders," she said.