After 26 years, investigators in Alabama have identified a body that was found without a head, hands and feet as a man from Santa Barbara.
According to the Marshall County Sheriff's Office, the body was found on April 15, 1997, in a wooded area near the town of Union Grove.
Because the body had been mutilated, investigators said they were unable to identify the man or even determine an accurate age. They believe the removal of his head, hands and feet was done intentionally to make identification impossible.
Investigators say they followed up on numerous leads but the case eventually went cold.
Recently, however, officials say improvements in DNA and genealogical research allowed them to finally identify the victim.
Sheriff's officials say they worked with a DNA technology company called Parabon NanoLabs on a process known as DNA phenotyping which uses a subject's DNA to predict what they may have looked like.
The victim has now been identified as Jefferey Douglas Kimzy, 20, of Santa Barbara.
"We now have an identity and we can backtrack, hopefully, backtrack whereabouts, movement over the course of that time and so forth," Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The sheriff's office says it has also identified persons of interest in Kimzy's death and investigators will continue working with Parabon NanoLabs to analyze DNA on items found at the scene.
"What's unique about this, and I can't explain why right now, but there was never a missing person report filed on Mr. Kimzey that we are aware of anyway, so which makes it even more difficult to track or identify who this person was," Sheriff Sims said. "We know who Jefferey Kimzey is now by a photo. We're trying to figure out who Jefferey Kimzey was as a person."
Anyone with further information about this case is urged to contact the Marshall County Sheriff's Office at 256-582-2034.