Betty Pat Gatliff death & obituary:In 1967, a young Native American man was murdered while hitchhiking. Authorities were unable to identify his remains—until Betty Pat Gatliff stepped in, producing a facial reconstruction so accurate that the victim was finally positively identified.
The case marked Gatliff’s first foray into forensic sculpture. She would go on to pioneer a new technique for facial reconstruction, helping law enforcement identify “scores” of people who had been killed or gone missing, according to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times.
“In solving a homicide, you first have to know who the victim is before you can know who the perpetrator is,” Gatliff told the Oklahoman’s Brandy McDonnell in 2002. “So it can be a key to solving the crime.”
Gatliff, aged 89, died of complications from a stroke on January 5.