TRENTON - A family is hoping to match the DNA of a girl missing for decades with one of several women who are unsure of they really are.
Melissa Diane McGuinn was 7 months old when she went missing in March 1988 from her home on Lamberton Street. She was allegedly taken by a woman with special needs who lived with the family.
Police scoured the neighborhood and searched the Delaware River, but Melissa was never found. Her family believes it's possible she was sold for adoption, and that someone who's unclear about their adoption could be Melissa.
State Trooper Jeff Flynn says investigators believe even after 25 plus years, McGuinn is alive. "There is such a thing as a gut feeling and they've expressed to me that they believe that she's out there."
Police have McGuinn's DNA and can test for matches. Flynn says when McGuinn went missing, it wasn't routine to keep DNA. "The fact that we actually have her DNA, we're very, very fortunate."
Melissa's half-brothers Michael O'Conner and Robert Bruner have hope for the state police's investigation. "Hopefully they could find her one day and find out what really happened to her," O'Conner says.
Investigators are testing people who believe they might be Melissa and they want more. "There are people out there, that are curious about their background that they're not sure where they came from," Flynn says. "If they think they could fit the description, the age the background, we would certainly consider testing them."
Social media efforts in the search have gone viral, including a Facebook page called, "The mystery of Melissa McGuinn."
So far, three women's DNA have been tested with negative results, but the family hopes the publicity about the testing will attract candidates.
New Jersey state police are asking anyone who has information about this case to contact the National Center for missing and exploited children.
The results of this latest round of DNA testing could come back in a few months.