Alabama law enforcement officials are a step closer to solving a 26-year-old cold case after DNA analysis helped them identify the mutilated remains of a 20-year-old man found in 1997.
Remains found in the Alabama woods more than a quarter-century ago have been identified as those of Jefferey Douglas Kimzy, a California resident, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation announced in a Facebook post Wednesday.
For 26 years, investigators have puzzled over the decomposing remains which were discovered near Union Grove. While the state of decomposition made it difficult for law enforcement officials to positively identify the body at the time, their efforts were hampered “due to the removal of the head, hands, and feet” of the victim, authorities revealed.
Chief Investigator Keith Wilson indicated to The Gadsden Times in 2019 that Kimzy’s head and hands had been removed with some type of saw. The victim’s heart and spleen were removed with surgical-type skills, and the victim’s ankles were bound by rope.
“Someone went to great lengths to hide the identity of our victim and the cause of his death,” Wilson told WHNT.
Investigators were able to determine that Kimzy had not been killed near the creek bed where he was found, surrounded by a handful air fresheners, the outlet stated. Instead, they believe he was either stabbed or shot in a separate location before his body was dumped at the site.
After improvement in DNA analysis were made, samples belonging to Kimzy were sent to Paragon NanoLabs in 2019 for DNA phenotyping, which uses a subject’s DNA to produce an image of what the subject may have looked like, the press release stated.
In 2021, the company released a composite image of the victim and found some possible genealogical matches. The following year, a “close match” was discovered living in Tennessee which led authorities to Kimzy’s parents in California. DNA samples obtained from both parents were used to positively identify Kimzy as the victim, WHNT reported. (RELATED: Police Use Cigarette Butt, DNA Testing To Solve 52-Year-Old Murder Case)
The discovery has reopened the 26-year-old cold case and has given authorities new leads on who the suspect or suspects might be.
“Today we want to announce we do have persons of interest involved in this case and are actively pursuing those leads. Also, we will be working with Parabon on DNA that we have recently become aware of related to items found at the scene,” police said in the press release.