A woman who was likely murdered and had her body dumped in a Davie canal in 1975 has remained unidentified for nearly 46 years, but now cold case investigators say they've identified her.
The woman's body was discovered in a canal in the 2600 block of Southwest 154th Avenue on Dec. 23, 1975.
At a news conference Tuesday, Davie Police said they identified her as Carolyn Dunn Moudy, of Indianola, Mississippi.
Moudy's daughter, Edna, spoke briefly at the news conference to thank investigators.
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"I just thank God that I got courage and know now, cause all these years I was just trying to search for her but I'm just thankful," Edna Moudy said. "She's in my heart."
Last year, police had released a digital composite of the unidentified woman. Officials said advances in DNA technology helped identify her as Moudy.
A genetic genealogist was able to use the DNA to track down family members, who said Moudy had gone missing in July 1974.
"I really had to work hard to piece this family tree together," said Cece Moore, the chief genetic genealogist with Parabon. "I built dozens of trees and I was able to narrow it down to a specific county in Mississippi. We knew she had to have deep roots there on both sides of her family -- and then I identified an extended family I thought she must come from."
Police had previously said the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office had determined the cause of death was drowning and the circumstances surrounding the case suggested homicide.
Officials said Tuesday that a homicide investigation is ongoing.
"Our detectives were relentless in identifying Carolyn and will now work towards bringing justice to her and her family as this investigation continues," Davie Police Chief Steve Kinsey said.
Moore says genetic genealogy has only been used in law enforcement for less than four years.
“I joined forces with PARABON in May 2018. We've been able to help solve 200 cases, so on average one per week.”
She also says law enforcement is not allowed to use the databases from many of the major consumer DNA testing companies, like 23andme or Ancestry for this purpose.
“There's a big misconception that we have access to these very large databases and we don’t. And so we rely on people that have tested at these big consumer companies to support what we're doing and to go upload their data to Gedmatch to help us solve these cases,” said Moore.