Body of a girl found by a man in 1976 was recently identified by California investigators to be a missing 14-year-old girl, Judy Gifford after 43 years, according to reports.
In a recent statement issued by the New Jersey State Police, "The New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit assisted the San Francisco Police Department, CA with positively identifying Judy Gifford, 14, as the victim in a 43-year-old homicide cold-case investigation."
Judy's body was found by a man walking his dog near Lake Merced in San Francisco on October 1, 1979. While her identity was difficult to establish since her body was reported to be badly decomposed, it was determined that the victim was a young Asian female who had a gold chain and owl pendant necklace in her pocket.
'Strangled to death'
Investigators determined that she was strangled to death before she was buried in a shallow grave for two-four weeks, possibly for six weeks before she was discovered. She was found fully dressed, wearing gold earrings and a Timex watch. A picture of her owl necklace was released by the police in hopes of identifying her. While the case remained cold for the past four decades, the investigators called the missing case Jane Doe No. 40, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The investigation gained momentum after Judy's half brother, William Shin filed a formal missing person's report to the San Francisco Police Department in 2017. Judy moved from her aunt's place to San Francisco in the summer of 1976 to live with her father, his wife and her two half-siblings. Shin who was six-years-ago when Judy went missing told investigators that he remembered having an elder sister when he was a child and decided to investigate her missing by himself after consulting his family before making the report.
New Jersey officials met Gifford's aunt Ogee Gifford in June to get DNA samples including photographs, dental records. A photograph of Judy wearing the owl necklace matched the one recovered with her remains.
While it is unclear why Judy's family didn't launch a missing person's report for the past 43 years, her aunt, Ogee Gifford did not change her phone number since the 1970s in hope of Judy ever contacting her.