A family’s hope slashed after identified remains are not those of Lauren Dumolo

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

The opportunity for a woman’s family to get closure was slashed after remains found weren’t hers.

Dental records proved a body that was found this week was not that of missing Cape Coral mom Lauren Dumolo. The remains were found in North Fort Myers and belonged to Briana Tennant.

Lauren’s father says he has come to terms with the loss of his daughter but that he would’ve been relieved by the possibility of closure. Paul Dumolo says it is difficult to find words to describe how he’s feeling now.

“You finally come to terms with okay there is no hope left she’s gone. And now you know where we’re back to? Square one. Nothing. A year later,” Dumolo said.

When the Cape Coral Police Department called Paul, and when the Lee County Sheriff’s Office went on camera to say they found remains in a wooded area and believed them to be Lauren’s, he believed the authorities.

Carmine Marceno is the Lee County Sheriff. “We’re pretty confident in what we feel, but we will not 100% confirm like chief Sizemore said until we have either DNA or that dental records,” said Sheriff Marceno.

Just one day later, Cape PD called twice. The first time to say that they tracked down Lauren Dumolo’s dental records. The second time they called to say that the remains weren’t Lauren’s.

“I think they should’ve never put anything out,” Paul said.

Cape Coral Police and LCSO stand by their decision to share the information. Anthony Sizemore is the Cape Coral Police Chief. “So, the primary reason we did that press conference, was not to champion the fact that we have it, have the skeletal remains, and we think it’s done,” he said. “Quite the contrary, it’s… it’s a very hot lead. And we need dental records. And there’s no sense hiding that or keeping that from the public.”

WINK News spoke to a retired police officer and forensic psychologist, David Thomas, about whether or not the Cape Coral Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office made the right call. “The need to go public was necessary, I think,” said Thomas.

“The purpose of asking for those dental records is to either say identify the body or rule this body out. And I wouldn’t have [said] ‘oh this is probably [it],’ because that gives hope, where there doesn’t necessarily need to be hope,” Thomas said.

Chief Sizemore says if there is any good that came out of this situation, it’s that the Tennant family now knows what happened to Briana. And, now, Cape PD has Lauren’s dental records and hopes those records will help them in the future.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office sent WINK News this statement:

“A couple days prior to the press conference, detectives provided names of possible matches to the Medical Examiner. Briana Tennant is a transient known to frequent the area of North Fort Myers where the skeletal remains were located. The day before the press conference, Briana Tennant’s family notified detectives after hearing street rumors about the remains found in North Fort Myers. They explained they hadn’t heard from her in months. Detectives confirmed Briana was being looked into. On Thursday, the Medical Examiner confirmed the remains belonged to Briana Tennant. The investigation into the skeletal remains is still active.”

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