canada africa partner reservation Florida authorities are identifying remains found on Crescent Beach nearly 40 years ago

Florida authorities are identifying remains found on Crescent Beach nearly 40 years ago

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CNN

Nearly forty years ago, human remains were found on a beach in St. Johns County, Florida. This week, authorities identified the remains as a woman who was last seen by her family in 1968.

Mary Alice Pultz was 25 years old time. She had grown up in Rockville, Maryland, and had two children. She then became estranged from her family and left with the man who was her boyfriend, John Thomas Fugitt, according to a news release from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

Fast forward to 1985 when human remains were found by construction workers digging for a walkover on Crescent Beach. The manner of death was ruled a homicide, the sheriff’s office said.

An initial investigation revealed that the remains belonged to a white woman between 30 and 50 years old.

Mary Alice Pultz's remains were found by construction workers in 1985, 17 years after her family saw her least in Maryland.

The case cooled over the years and the remains remained unidentified.

A 2011 facial reconstruction gave officials some clues, but ultimately left the case unsolved.

That was until 2023, when a major breakthrough was discovered after the remains were sent to Othram, a Texas laboratory that specializes in forensic genetic genealogy.

Using advanced technology at the lab, potential relatives of the victim were identified, the sheriff’s office said. Sergeant Gene Tolbert traveled to meet these family members and after more DNA samples and testing, authorities were able to positively identify the remains.

Officials identified Pultz as the victim in January 2024, but her murder remains unsolved.

Fugitt, who went by Tommy, also had an alias: Billy Joe Wallace.

“We don’t know if Tommy has anything to do with Mary Alice’s appearance, but he is certainly at the top of our list when it comes to persons of interest,” Tolbert said in a Facebook video the sheriff’s office made about the case . .

During the course of the investigation, officials learned that Fugitt died while on death row after being convicted and sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of his roommate.

“Although a significant amount of time has passed, detectives are hopeful that the information developed thus far will result in a lead that will provide final closure to the family,” the sheriff’s office said.

St. Johns County is located on the northeast coast of Florida. Police say they do not know whether Pultz moved to Florida with her boyfriend. They have no addresses or records of any jobs she may have held between 1968, when she left Maryland, and 1985, when her remains were found.

Her son, Norman Jenkins, was young when she left.

“I would like to know if anyone has ever seen or known her,” Jenkins told police.