JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WALA)- A Jane Doe, found dead in the swamps of Ward Bayou in Vancleave, Miss., in1991 has now been identified as Kimberly Funk.
Investigators said she could have been in that area for three years before she was found. Her death ruled a homicide.
"There really was no clues to her identity or anything. It was skeletonized remains what could you do?" said CEO David Mittelman of Othram Inc.
Forensic work in the 90's determined the Jane Doe was in her late 20's and had brown hair. A clay model of what investigators thought she looked like was even made to try and get a possible identity, but to no avail.
For 30 years, the case sat cold until a Mississippi woman financed Othram Inc. in Woodlands, Texas to extract Jane Doe's DNA.
"We did some preliminary work and determined that there was enough DNA to build a suitable genealogical profile and we took the case," said Mittelman.
Through that profile, Othram genealogists created a family tree of distant relatives and gave that information to Jackson County investigators, who then tracked down Jane Doe's family. Finally she was identified Kimberly Funk through a living brother.
Mittelman said, "There was a gentleman out of Pennsylvania that was missing a sister, and the last time he had been in touch with her, she had been nearby the area and so, confirmation DNA testing was utilized to establish that, in fact, this guy was the brother of the unknown person."
It's still unclear how Funk died or even why the Pennsylvania native was in Mississippi, but Mittelman said this is a huge piece in solving the puzzle.
"You can't really work a homicide, if you don't know who the victim is. Like how do you get justice for someone you don't know. So identifying the victim is just the very first step."
To search other unidentified cases, you can head to dnasolves.com. There, you can pay for a DNA extraction of a body to solve the case and you can also upload your own DNA to see if it could be the missing link to solving other cases.