SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Decades after the skeletal remains of a woman were found on the shoulder of Interstate 5 in Sacramento, detectives finally have a name.
The remains were discovered on the shoulder of I-5, just south of the Freeport Boulevard overpass, back on Oct. 27, 1981. At the time, due to the time between her death and discovery, detectives were only able to identify her as a woman between 25-35 years old.READ MORE: Construction Concerns Hit Businesses Along Highway 99
One distinguishing feature detectives were able to identify, however, was that she had the tattoo of a small red flower with two green leaves and a stem on her lower right behind.
Exactly how she died has not been determined, but the discovery was classified as a cold case homicide.
Ever since her remains were discovered, detectives have been trying to identify her. Facial reconstruction, a media push, and inputting the case into the National Missing Persons Database all came up empty.READ MORE: 'Simply Just Another Bump In The Road': Future Sacramento Firefighter Tells Inspirational Story From Chemo To Cadet
However, a break in the case came in February. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office says they were notified about a match of familial DNA to the remains.
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As a result, the woman was finally identified as Lilly Ann Prendergast.
Prendergrast, who was 26 when her remains were found, was reportedly last seen leaving her family’s Dallas, TX home back in late 1980 and also had ties to the Ohio, Florida, Georgia and Texas areas. Detectives say she was known to hitchhike, but it’s unknown how she ended up in Sacramento.MORE NEWS: Sacramento Highway 99 Closure Now In Place: How To Get Around It
Now, the sheriff’s office is hoping Prendergast’s identification will help jog the memories of anyone with information regarding her disappearance and death. Anyone with information relevant to the case is urged to leave a tip at (916) 874-8477.