UPDATE, Sunday, Oct. 30 -- Human remains discovered along the Salmon River a week ago have been positively identified as those of missing Nampa woman Cayla A. Danenberg.
Danenberg’s family has been notified of the positive match.
On. Oct. 23, according to an Idaho County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO) press release, ICSO officers and Idaho County Coroner Cody Funke recovered human remains on the Salmon River near the bridge connecting Graves Creek Road with Rice Creek Road.
With the assistance of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS), investigators consulted with Dr. Richard Fixott, DDS, a forensic odontologist located in Redmond, Ore. Dr. Fixott believed enough of the teeth remained for a forensic review. Last Thursday, Oct. 26, Dr. Fixott determined there was an X-ray match for a positive identification of the remains with Danenberg.
Danenberg has been missing since May 17, 2016, when she and a companion, Tiffany Maupin, were involved in a car crash into the Salmon River on U.S. Highway 95 near milepost 210. Maupin’s body was recovered on May 28, 2016.
ICSO and the Idaho County Coroner thanked NAMUS and Dr. Fixott for their assistance and swift action in helping to identify Danenberg, according to the release.
(Wednesday, Oct. 25) -- Human remains discovered along the Salmon River this week may be related to one of two recent missing person cases currently open with the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office.
Narrowing down or perhaps confirming identification is pending outsourced testing.
Investigators suspect remains belong to one of two drowning accident victims:
• John “Randy” French, 54, of Boise, who failed to return home from a Riggins fishing trip July 1 of this year. Evidence discovered July 9 led investigators to suspect his red 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche went into the Salmon River near Fiddle Creek, milepost 201.5, on U.S. Highway 95.
• Cayla Danenberg, 20, of Nampa, was one of two fatalities in a May 17, 2016, single vehicle accident into the Salmon River three miles south of Slate Creek on U.S. 95. Also killed was Tiffany Maupin, 21, of Nampa, whose body was subsequently recovered.
“Based on finding the remains below the high-water mark, we’re assuming it’s one of our missing persons,” said ICSO Detective Jerry Johnson.
“And based on the remains, it’s probably Cayla,” he said.
On Monday, Oct. 23, around 11 to 11:30 a.m., according to Johnson, hunters found the remains – mostly skeletal – scattered across a 50-yard area along the Salmon River near the Pete Johnson Ranch, Graves Creek Road near milepost 15. It is believed the body was originally deposited at the high-water mark and subsequently settled down from there toward the river.
Remains are “mostly complete,” Johnson said, but with portions missing, such as teeth that may have had dental work done, that complicate identification.
According to Johnson, plans to identify the remains will start with submitting these to the University of North Texas Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology’s Center for Human Identification, which can test these with DNA reference samples provided by Danenberg’s family.
If inconclusive, a second option, according to Idaho County Coroner Cody Funke, is to submit remains to Ada County for an anthropological assessment, which would determine general characteristics – such as weight, height and sex – and other avenues for testing.
No timeline is set for remains identification; however, Johnson said the department wants to conduct the process as quickly as possible to determine confirmation for victims’ families.