Coroner’s officials Thursday confirmed that DNA from a skull and other remains found in a Sherman Oaks park matched that of a missing Manhattan Beach woman with Alzheimer’s disease who vanished more than two years ago.
Nancy Paulikas, who had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, was 55 years old when she wandered away from her husband at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Oct. 15, 2016.
Her death was confirmed after a charred partial skull was found on a mountainside and later matched to additional remains found in the area, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, which listed her date of death as March 11, 2017.
The skull was found on that date in Fossil Ridge Park, near the intersection of Mulholland Drive and Valley Glen Boulevard.
The coroner’s office sent a sample from the skull to the California Department of Justice in April of 2017 for DNA analysis. On Sept. 13, 2018, coroner’s investigators found bones near the same area of the park where the skull was discovered and the next month sent a sample to the state DOJ for DNA analysis.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice notified the coroner’s office that both samples were from the decedent and matched Paulikas’ DNA.
The coroner’s office listed her cause and manner of death as undetermined.
Her husband, Kirk Moody, said Wednesday that he heard from police that the skull and some ribs were found to be Paulikas’ remains.
“I heard from the police today that they have identified a skull and some ribs as positively matching Nancy’s DNA,” he said. Moody said he had no details as to the cause of death, but added that “it seems clear she met her demise in an unfortunate manner.”
Moody and the rest of Paulikas’ loved ones had been holding out hope she would be found in a care facility.
Paulikas had last been seen on security video that showed her walking west on McCarthy Vista near the time she went missing.
A $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to her safe return.
Her husband, who met Paulikas when both worked at TRW, said he hoped her case would raise awareness and “inspire efforts to better address issues with at-risk people going missing.”
Paulikas was the inspiration for LA Found, a countywide program to find individuals using trackable bracelets, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said.
“I am heartbroken,” Hahn said. “For two years we have kept hope alive that Nancy would be found safe and could be reunited with her family. I want to thank everyone who continued to search for Nancy. May she rest in peace.”
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