ALCONA COUNTY (WJRT) (11/30/2017) - Police are hoping newly released pictures help solve a Mid-Michigan mystery that began 23 years ago.
A hunter found human bones in an Alcona County woods off Bamfield Road near Curtisville Road near the Alcona Dam in 1994. Investigators believe the remains were there for up to four years when they were found.
More than 20 years later, authorities still can't identify the remains, but they may have a potential cause of death.
"We believe there was trauma to the head and this potentially could be a homicide," said Michigan State Police Det. Sgt. Jennifer Pintar.
Advancements in computer science and anthropology allowed investigators to piece together detailed renderings and a clay model of what they believe the person may have looked like. Police hope the pictures help solve the case.
Police have exhausted traditional means of identifying the body. They compiled a list of names of missing persons throughout Alcona County who roughly match the description, but no matches came.
That led investigators to use the advanced methods of creating the renderings and model.
"We are hoping that maybe family, or someone that went to school with or knew an individual that went missing," said Alcona County Sheriff's Deputy Nathaniel Leeseberg.
Michigan State University anthropologists have determined the woman was between 4-foot-7 and 5-foot-6 of European ancestry. Her age is estimated at 30 to 50 years old.
That would most likely rule out Patricia Spencer and Pamela Hobley, teenagers who were last seen in Oscoda on Halloween night 1969. Their bodies have never been found.
In the Alcona County case, detectives have other information that could help make a positive identification.
"Through advancements in technology we are able to get a complete DNA profile so we can run them against other missing persons, we also have full dental records," Pintar said.
The new images assembled by forensic artists could be the final piece to the more than 20-year-old puzzle.
"Try to give people that have family members missing some hope that police officers do continue these investigations," Pintar said.
Since the pictures were released, police have been getting tips about the identity of the woman. Anyone with information is asked to call the Michigan State Police or Alcona County Sheriff's Office.