The Bone Lady: How Mary Manhein changed the face of forensics

The Bone Lady: How Mary Manhein changed the face of forensics

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The long-time director of LSU's nationally recognized forensic laboratory Mary Manhein gave WAFB special access to her FACES lab as she is set to retire at the end of April.

The FACES lab stands for the Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services lab.

Manhein opened up about the cases she's helped crack over the years.

"One case we got identified was from 32 years ago and we got it identified," Manhein said. "You imagine having a loved one missing for 20 or 30 years and then get a phone call [saying] we have found your loved one."

Manhein says the most rewarding part of her more than 30 years of work was in resolving "cold cases" of missing or unidentified people. Manhein helped create a database of missing people in Louisiana, initiating a bill at the Louisiana Legislature to create the system.

Manhein is proud of the LSU FACES laboratory and says it is one of the best equipped labs in the country.

"I wanted to go out when I was at the top of my game and I feel as if I'm at the top of my game now," Manhein said.

"I want to enjoy the rest of my life doing things with my family. I have four grandchildren with whom I'd like to spend more time. I have a lot of ideas, I've taken up the guitar and I'm really bad!" Manhein said.

Manhein said she was ready to hand off control of the LSU FACES Lab to a new generation of scientists.

She is currently working on two novels as well but can't help but think about some cases connected to south Louisiana serial killer, Derrick Todd Lee.

"Those kinds of cases bother me. Randy Mebruer has not been found, her case bothers me," Manhein said.

"A lot of these cases bother me, but I try not to focus on them though- to think about them too much, because I think if you think about that too much, you can't do what we have to do."

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