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Remains of woman found in Millen in 1988 identified
Discovered in dumpster, Hinesville resident was a victim of homicide
woman's remains ID'd
Chong Un Kim, who was living in Hinesville when she disappeared 35 years ago, was identified earlier this month as the woman whose body was found in a dumpster in Millen in 1988. The two photos shown were used by law enforcement after her disappearance, while the drawing was created to show what she may have looked like in 2000, when she would have been in her late 30s. (Photo courtesy Georgia Bureau of Investigation)

The GBI has identified human remains found in a dumpster in Jenkins County more than 35 years ago as Chong Un Kim, who was living in Hinesville at the time. Kim was 26 years old when she was found.  

On the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 14, 1988, the GBI received a request from the Jenkins County Sheriff's Office to assist with a death investigation. The victim, wrapped with plastic and duct tape, was found inside a large, nylon suitcase that had been placed in a dumpster just north of Millen. 

The victim had been dead for about four to seven days. The cause of death was asphyxiation.

Throughout the investigation, fingerprints and dental records from the victim were compared to other missing persons from around the country. A GBI forensic artist created a sketch of what the person may have looked like, which was disseminated to the public.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System opened a case. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also created and disseminated a computer-generated sketch. As DNA technology advanced over the years, police resubmitted evidence to the GBI Crime Lab for additional testing. 

While analysts found DNA on the items submitted, the profiles obtained were not eligible for entry into the CODIS DNA Database. 

Finally, earlier in 2023, the GBI began working with Othram, a company that uses advanced DNA testing to solve cases. 

Othram, Inc., based in The Woodlands, Texas, is a leader in using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to develop comprehensive genealogical profiles. The GBI sent forensic evidence to Othram, Inc. Based on the DNA, a genealogical search produced investigative leads that led to Kim's identification. 

The GBI notified Kim's family in October 2023 about the identification. Kim came to the United States from Korea in 1981 and lived in Hinesville for years before her death in 1988.

"Project Justice" funded the DNA testing. Project Justice has evolved from a group founded in 2021 by Las Vegas philanthropist Justin Woo called Vegas Justice League that helped fund a number of unsolved cold cases in the Las Vegas area. They have since started Project Justice as a philanthropic project to raise funding for unsolved cold cases across the country.  

According to Othram, Project Justice's goal is to assist in cases that have not been solved through traditional means and lack the funding to access newer and more precise DNA technologies that Othram uses. 

The GBI is asking anyone who may have known Chong Un Kim, or who has any information about this case, to contact the GBI at (912) 871-1121. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling (800) 597-8477 or online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online.

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