Homicide

Virginia officials hope facial sculptures solve mysteries

  • Busts of unidentified crime victims are lined up in the offices of the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in Richmond, Va. The medical examiner's office is hoping a new set of facial sculptures created by the FBI will help identify eight people found dead in Virginia between 1972 and 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    Busts of unidentified crime victims are lined up in the offices of the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in Richmond, Va. The medical examiner's office is hoping a new set of facial sculptures created by the FBI will help identify eight people found dead in Virginia between 1972 and 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

  • Busts of unidentified crime victims are lined up in the offices of the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in Richmond, Va. The medical examiner's office is hoping a new set of facial sculptures created by the FBI will help identify eight people found dead in Virginia between 1972 and 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    Busts of unidentified crime victims are lined up in the offices of the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in Richmond, Va. The medical examiner's office is hoping a new set of facial sculptures created by the FBI will help identify eight people found dead in Virginia between 1972 and 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

  • Busts of unidentified crime victims are lined up in the offices of the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in Richmond, Va. The medical examiner's office is hoping a new set of facial sculptures created by the FBI will help identify eight people found dead in Virginia between 1972 and 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    Busts of unidentified crime victims are lined up in the offices of the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in Richmond, Va. The medical examiner's office is hoping a new set of facial sculptures created by the FBI will help identify eight people found dead in Virginia between 1972 and 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

The Virginia medical examiner's office hopes a new set of facial sculptures created by the FBI will help identify eight people found dead in Virginia between 1972 and 2014.

It's worked before. Lara Newell, an investigator at the office, says a family in 2012 was notified by a friend who recognized the facial approximation of remains found in Richmond in 2004. The deceased person's sister provided a DNA sample that led to a positive identification. Newell says the family members were surprised but relieved to finally know what became of their loved one.

The latest set of facial approximations includes two Hispanic men, perhaps a father and son, found slain in Caroline County in 1988.

Medical Examiner William Gormley says identifying human remains can help law enforcement solve cold cases.