Success Stories

Maria Isabel Solis

At 8:40 a.m. on Tuesday Morning, March 3, 2003, Maria left home to go to George I. Sanchez High School where she was an honor student. As usual, she headed for a bus stop next to the Gulf Freeway Inn to catch either Metro Bus #5 or # 26. Maria never arrived at her school.

Maria Solis lived with her father, Victor Solis, on the South Side of Houston, Texas. Her mother, Blanca Ortiz, was still living in Mexico City. Family and friends strongly believed that Maria was the victim of foul play and were worried for her safety. Houston law enforcement authorities questioned Victor and Maria's grandmother, Isabel Solis, as well as neighbors, friends and acquaintances. Both of Maria's parents said that she had no history of running away and had even once stopped a friend from doing so.

Investigators at the Houston Police Department Missing Persons Bureau informed the Solis family that they could voluntarily submit reference samples to the Texas Missing Persons DNA Database so that their DNA profiles could be uploaded to the CODIS National Missing Persons Database (TMPDD). In April of 2003, approximately one month after Maria's disappearance, Victor Solis and Blanca Ortiz provided the TMPDD with buccal swab samples.

On August 13, 2003 crews cutting trees is a heavily wooded area near the U.S. 59 southbound turnaround at the Brazos River. The site had a reputation as a dumping ground for bodies. There was no clothing or jewelry at the site, giving police few clues as to the identity or gender of the remains. Sugar Land police later said that forensic tests revealed that the remains were that of a young woman who was a victim of a homicide.

In October of 2003, the Sugar Land Police sent the remains to the TMPDD where both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA testing was performed. The results were uploaded into the local database. In late November of 2004, during a routine database search, a preliminary hit was made with the mitochondrial DNA profile from Blanca Ortiz, Maria Solis' mother. Additional nuclear testing was required to confirm the hit.

On February 8, 2005 eighteen months after her remains were found; DNA testing confirmed that the remains were those of Maria Solis. Maria was a homicide victim. One of the investigators associated with the case was quoted saying, "At least Maria's family knows where she is now. Unhappy as the ending is, at least there is an ending. So many families have to wonder all of their lives."

This was another "cold hit" made by the Texas Missing Person DNA Database. The match was made possible by CODIS software provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.