PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — A woman whose body was found 30 years ago in Mississippi has finally been identified thanks to DNA and the persistence of cold case investigators.
Authorities found the woman's body on Feb. 1, 1991, in a swampy area of Ward Bayou in Vancleave in Mississippi's Jackson County. The body is believed to have been there for up to three years before it was found, WLOX-TV reported.
The woman, believed to have been in her 20s, had brown hair and was referred to as Jane Doe.
On Thursday, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said Jane Doe has a name. It's Kimberly Ann Funk, who was born Feb. 7, 1969, in Sharon, Pennsylvania, 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of Pittsburgh.
In 2019, an anonymous donor helped the Mississippi Crime Lab finance updated DNA testing through Othram Inc., based in The Woodlands, Texas. Researchers were able to build a family tree using DNA that could potentially help identify the Jane Doe.
In March, Othram identified a possible brother of the victim. Cold case investigators talked with him and he confirmed that he had a sister named Kimberly, also known as "Star," who went missing in 1990.
DNA swabs were collected from him and sent to Othram for comparison. Tests confirmed that the DNA was a match and Kimberly Ann Funk was officially identified as the Jane Doe, authorities said.
With the brother's help, investigators were able to learn that Funk arrived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Houston, Texas, between April and June of 1990. The cold case team is still working to piece together a timeline of her life between April 1990 and the time she was found in February 1991.
Anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to contact Jackson County Sheriff's Office at 228-769-3063. Anonymous tips can also be made to Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers.
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