Skeletal remains discovered a week ago in a vacant lot near Pine Island Road may belong to missing Cape Coral mother Lauren Dumolo, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said forensic specialists determined the skeletal remains found in North Fort Myers on Oct. 5 belonged to a white woman, aged 30 to 50, who died between 6 months and 5 years ago.
“We cannot confirm the skeletal remains belong to Lauren Dumolo, however they cannot be excluded,” he said.
Marceno and Cape Coral Police Chief Anthony Sizemore, who is overseeing Dumolo’s missing person’s case, said they are hoping dentists in Cape Coral, Staten Island, New York and Maryland come forward with dental records to make a successful match. They also are hoping for DNA matches.
“Between our two teams, we will leave no stone unturned,” Marceno said, adding that DNA tests can take months, whereas dental records could resolve the case more quickly.
Sizemore said Dumolo has been a police priority since she was reported missing on June 21, 2020. He said his team has tallied thousands of personnel hours, executed 12 search warrants — one as recently as a few weeks ago, conducted 100 interviews and hunted down more than 110 individual tips.
Sizemore alerted Paul Dumolo, Lauren’s father, about the news conference and the status of her case on Tuesday, saying he understands the frustration of family and friends.
He said he doesn’t share every lead publicly because “it’s exhausting and emotionally draining,” on the family and his investigators.
“This lead is the biggest lead we’ve had in the life of this case,” Sizemore said. “We believe there is a good possibility that these skeletal remains are that of Lauren.”
He said if they can’t find dental records, investigators will use other DNA options.
481 days later, family continues fight for answers
It’s been 481 days since Dumolo went missing, and every day her family and friends fight for answers.
On that June day, the 29-year-old mother seemed to have vanished. Her phone was left in her apartment and her purse was found at Four Freedoms park, 4818 Tarpon Court, a place she frequently went to meditate.
Cape Coral Police started its investigation, but until Wednesday, there were few to no updates.
Dumolo’s family and friends hit the streets of Cape Coral asking anyone and anyone for information, retraced her steps, contacted private investigators, shared her story on national TV and podcasts, held vigils and events to raise money.
And on the one-year anniversary of her disappearance, they gathered together to honor Lauren by placing a bench at her favorite spot in Four Freedoms Park.
When Dumolo first went missing, her boyfriend, Gabriel Pena, called her father to tell him she never came home.
Paul Dumolo, who had never spoken to Pena, wasn’t initially concerned, thinking his daughter must have just gone to the store or her mother’s house.
But Lauren’s trail ended, and she remains missing.
Sizemore remains hopeful.
“If it is, indeed, Lauren, our investigation has come to a tragic end and all of the work we have done will be handed over to our partners at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office,” he continued. “If not, our missing person’s case goes on.”