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GARDENA : Remains of Woman Missing 3 1/2 Years Found

July 14, 1994|BENETT KESSLER

Skeletal remains found behind a Mammoth Lakes shopping mall on Friday have been identified as those of a Gardena woman who had been missing almost four years, authorities said.

Shirley Hitoma Koga had been missing since December, 1990, when she rented a condominium in Mammoth Lakes but never checked out. Mammoth police officers found her belongings in the room.

After two boys reported finding skeletal remains in thick brush and trees near the large shopping center, forensics experts used Koga's dental chart comparisons to confirm the identity of the remains. They will perform further tests to determine a cause of death, said Steve Maris, Mono County chief deputy coroner.

After her disappearance, friends and relatives reported that she was despondent over medical problems and the loss of her job as a dental hygienist. Koga's brother, Richard Koga, circulated flyers in 1990 with the hope that someone had seen his sister, who was 30 when she disappeared.

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