After DNA helps identify 1986 murder victim, California officials seek her killer:

DNA testing has helped members of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Unit finally identify the body of a woman who was found dead in California in 1986. Now authorities say they have a “whole new mystery” to figure out who killed him.

The woman’s remains were found on February 16, 1986, near campsites on the Los Quitos Indian Reservation in Warner Springs on the Pacific Crest Trail. But authorities were unable to identify the victim until this week.

gave The sheriff’s office announced The remains have been identified as Claudette Jean Zybolsky Powers, who was born in January 1962 in Michigan, it was announced Tuesday. In the early 1980s, she lived with her husband in Washington state until she left him and moved to San Diego in 1983. 1984, according to the family. He was last heard from in September 1984 after the death of his father. Police said she may have lived in the San Diego area as recently as February 1986.

While Powers’ body has been identified, her killer remains at large, the sheriff’s office said. In the news release, he asked the public to come forward with any information and said detectives had been working on the case for decades since Powers’ body was found.

Sergeant Tim Chantler told CBS affiliate KFMB-TV That detectives are now putting together a timeline of Powers’ life before her death to try to identify her killer.

Claudette Jean Zibolsky Powers.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

“It took 37 years to solve the mystery, to identify who she was,” Chantler said. “Now we have to reconstruct her entire life. Where did she live, where did she work, and who did she know? Was she dating? Who were her friends? That’s where we go.” Starting, now a brand new mystery, as in the opposite. One we just solved.”

Laura Freese, Powers’ youngest sister, asked anyone with information to come forward.

“It’s been really hard on our family,” Freese said in the news release. “Someone knows what happened. A neighbor, anyone who knows him knows what happened. If you are still alive and you know my sister and you know what happened to her please come forward. We need to close please.”

Powers was identified through a technique called investigative genetic genealogy, the office said. This technique is used only when all other methods, such as combing through missing persons records, have failed, and involves searching for family members of victims found at crime scenes. Includes uploading DNA to consumer genealogy websites. This method is also used while searching for suspects.

In Powers’ case, DNA information was taken from a sample of her hair and compared to profiles available on commercial sites. Also using census records and other public information, detectives were able to create a family tree and “trace an individual believed to be a relative of Claudette.” Detectives spoke with the relative, and eventually connected with Powers’ daughters, sisters and mother.

DNA samples confirmed the match and allowed positive identification of the remains. Police said this is the seventh time the department’s homicide unit has used investigative genetic genealogy to solve such a case.

Another body was found near where Powers’ body was. The second homicide victim, who was found “at the same time and area,” according to the sheriff’s office, has not been identified. Police said the cases may be connected.

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