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Woman found dead behind Georgia hotel in 1993 identified through DNA testing: "The work doesn't end here"

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Almost three decades after her remains were found in the woods behind a hotel outside Atlanta, a woman who police suspect was the victim of a violent killing in 1993 has now been identified. Her name was Rebecca "Becky" Burke, the Dekalb County District Attorney's Office announced this week.

Burke's remains were discovered on Sept. 16, 1993, the office said in a news release on Tuesday. In an apparent attempt to hide the body, which was already "in an advanced state of decomposition," someone had seemingly placed the remains behind an electrical unit that was covered by pine straw and branches and in a wooded area that sat between a former Fairfield Inn and a vacant medical office. The inn, now Quality Inn Northlake, still exists and is located less than 20 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta.

Due to the state of the remains, authorities believe that Burke, who was 52 years old at the time of her death, had been killed between two weeks and three months prior to being found, according to the district attorney. No identification was found with the body, and although the early investigation determined that the victim had undergone extensive dental work and hip replacement surgery that may have caused her to walk with a gait, a lack of additional details about who Burke was led the case to run cold.

Remains found behind an inn near Atlanta, Georgia, in 1993 have been identified as belonging to Rebecca "Becky" Burke, who was 52 years old at the time of her death, authorities announced this week. Dekalb County District Attorney's Office

Burke was eventually identified through forensic genetic genealogy, an advanced form of DNA testing that involved the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System and Othram, a company that specializes in forensic genealogy to help solve cold cases. Forensic genetic genealogy combines traditional genealogy research with DNA analyses and is often used to identify both suspects and victims in criminal cases where more traditional identification methods have been unsuccessful, the district attorney's office said.

Those tests linked Burke's remains to a family member, which allowed investigators to learn more about her and her background. Authorities say Burke may have also used the last names McChesney or Barnes, and her last known residence was in either the Marietta or Smyrna area of Cobb County, Georgia.

A cold case task force is seeking information about the killing.  Dekalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston urged anyone who knew Burke, or worked at the inn where she her body was found around that time, to contact authorities.

"We're grateful to finally have identified Becky Burke's remains, but the work doesn't end here," Sherry Boston said in a statement. "If you have any information about Becky's last days, please contact our Cold Case Tip Line."

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