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Ala. police ID remains found in 1997 as Cynthia Davis, ask for help solving her murder

The body of Cynthia Lynn Davis was found in 1997, but was only positively identified in recent months WHNT/Madison County Sheriff's Office

(CBS/WHNT) HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- Police in Alabama are asking the public for help solving the cold case murder of a young woman whose body was found in 1997, and who was only recently identified.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office identified the woman as Cynthia Lynn Davis, 18, of Huntsville, reports CBS affiliate WHNT. At a press conference Wednesday, local law enforcement asked anyone who knew Davis to come forward.

Davis' remains were discovered by a hunter in some woods near Indian Creek Road on October 16, 1997. She was found wrapped in plastic.

Sheriff Blake Dorning said Davis was estranged from her family and moved to north Alabama sometime in the 1990s. She was originally from California, and her mother lives there now.

Dorning said the break in the case came in 2009, when Davis' stepfather called investigators to say he hadn't heard from Cynthia in several years. The stepfather was divorced from Cynthia's mother, and he said he had heard the story about the bones being found and thought it might be her, by chance. The stepfather was shot in the face in the mid 90s, and could no longer see, so he couldn't view the computer image of what she might look like.

Investigators then got in touch with Davis' mother, who got her son, Cynthia's biological brother, to provide a DNA sample. The samples matched, but according to Dorning it took several years to get the results back because they used the FBI Crime Lab. Since then, investigators also matched DNA samples from Cynthia's mother and biological sister to the body.

Davis' remains were released to the family a few months ago, and they buried her in California.

Now, investigators want to talk with people who knew Cynthia Davis. They think she might have been a waitress at a Waffle House restaurant in Huntsville.

If you knew Cynthia Davis, please call the Madison County Sheriff's Office at (256) 532-3412.

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