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Deputies exhuming body to help solve cold case

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Posted at 6:27 AM, Apr 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-21 17:43:47-04

Investigators are taking another look at a cold case homicide on the Treasure Coast.

Indian River County deputies exhumed a body buried 34 years ago.

Deputies say they found the woman’s body in 1982, five miles west of I-95. Detectives say she was lying in a canal off State Road 60 in Vero Beach for three days before being found.  She had been shot 4 times. The woman had brown hair, brown eyes, a short sleeved pullover terry-cloth blouse with gold fringe on bottom and a pair of blue jeans.

She wore a gold and silver wedding band on her left hand and a large turquoise ring on her right hand.

The female, 21 to 35-years-old, is in several databases including the national DNA database. No matches have come up.

Deputies are hoping new facial reconstruction technology will help solve the case.

"We hope to give closure in this case. Somebody out there is missing a mother, a wife, a family member,” Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar said. "We want to identify this woman and bring her killer to justice after all these years."

Thursday morning, deputies along with a team of researchers from the University of Florida exhumed the body. The researchers will take the remains back to Gainesville to be their work.

“They will do a full 3D scan of the skull. They will submit that to a forensic artist, and they will work to create a profile of this person," said Lt. Eric Flowers, spokesman for the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

A few years ago NewsChannel 5 took you behind the scenes to show you what the technology was capable of.

In Palm Beach County deputies were able to identify Tina Beebe. Her body was found in a shallow grave in Loxahatchee, but was never identified.

With the help of family, deputies matched Beebe’s skull to a picture provided to them.

And many are hoping for the same success for this Vero Beach case.

“I hope they find the person that did this to this young lady. That’s what I'm hoping," said Mitchel Hampton who is part of the Winter Beach Cemetery's association.