DNA testing has confirmed that a grave with questionable remains actually contained the remains of the Romanian dictator Nikolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena. A number of Romanians, including the Ceausescu family, were dubiouss that the couple was really buried in the Ghencea military cemetery in Bucharest.

The dictator was infamous for his rigid controls of everything in the media and effectively controlling free speech and any dissenting ideas from those of his ruling party.

Romania under Ceausescu cut all ties with the Soviet Union. The much hated secret police hunted down anyone whose ideology did not conform to that of the party. Following a revolution, the dictator and his wife fled but were captured. The couple were both tried by the military tribunal and then executed by gunshot.

The descendants of the Ceausescu family have questioned the remains where Nikolae and his wife were allegedly buried and have even avoided mourning on the grave as they had doubts as to whether the grave contained the true remains of the Ceausescu. The suite to open the grave and get DNA samples was put forward by Ceausescu’s son and his son in law. The required samples were collected by forensic pathologists and send to the laboratory for analysis.

Ceausescu had other children. The legal quest to open the grave was actually begun by his daughter- Zoia Ceausescu. She had attempted to sue the ministry of defense in 2005 but then battled cancer of which she died in 2006. Valentin Ceausescu, the dictator’s son, took up the case. Elena and Nikolai’s also had another son, Nicu, who died of liver cirrhosis in 1996. Nicu is buried in the same cemetery as his parents.

DNA testing would likely in such cases involve comparing the DNA samples taken from the remains in the grave to those of living relatives. The DNA profiles would then be compared and the existence of a biological relationship either excluded or confirmed. DNA testing has conclusively established that the remains in the grave are those of Nikolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena.

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In 1922 the grave of Tutankhamen was discovered by Howard Carter. However, DNA had not even been discovered and little could be understood about his life; it was not until very recently that his remains were re-examined using current DNA testing