PASCAGOULA, MS (WALA)- The Jackson County Sheriff's Department has identified an "Escatawpa Jane Doe" as Clara Birdlong.
Investigators said hunters found Birdlong's body at a construction site in Pascagoula in 1977 three or four months after she was murdered.
Despite renderings of what they thought she may look like, investigators couldn't positively identify her until September.
With the use of DNA testing and a genealogy family tree compiled by Othram Incorporated out of Texas, investigators found Birdlong's 93-year-old grandmother still living in Texas. The grandmother and a cousin confirmed Birdlong had been missing from Mississippi, where she lived, in the early 70's.
JCSO investigators also found a former friend of Birdlong who said she left Leflore County, MS with a man who said he was on his way to Florida. The family never saw or heard from her again.
Investigators believe she was murdered by the most prolific serial killer in US history, Samuel Little. Little confessed to killing 93 women in 2019. He also confessed to killing a woman in 1977, whom investigators believe was Birdlong. He even drew a picture of his Pascagoula victim from memory.
The same year Birdlong's body was found, investigators said Little was arrested for petit theft in Pascagoula.
The FBI believes all of Little's confessions to be credible. He died from natural causes in a California hospital this past December.
Birdlong's cause of death is still undetermined.
Her family described her as a small woman, with a gold tooth, who wore a wig.