The skeletal remains of a 16-year-old girl who went missing in the 1970s was finally positively identified on Monday, as police work on finding out more about the potential circumstances of the young girl’s death.

Nancy Carol Fitzgerald was 16 years when she disappeared without a trace in 1972. Human remains were then dug up years later in 1988 at the Henry Hudson Bike Trail, but has only been positively identified as Fitzgerald’s body more than 50 years after she has been declared missing, according to NBC 4.

This comes after a DNA profile was taken in 1990 that was unable to be identified for over three decades until Virginia-based DNA analysis firm Bode Technology offered their help in identifying the DNA successfully to Fitzgerald, Asbury Park Press reported.

Kathleen Unterberger, Nancy’s younger sister and one of her two living relatives, has more questions regarding her disappearance now that the skeletal remains that was dug up in the 1980s, including how she ended up dead in the first place.

Unterberger, who said that she was constantly mistaken as either Nancy or her twin growing up, said that her older sister was involved in the “wrong crowd,” doing drugs and skipping school constantly. At some point, Nancy reportedly overdosed on barbiturates, and police came in to find more drugs in her person.

A year after she went missing, Kathleen’s mother reportedly received a phone call where a young girl was on the other line screaming and asking for help. She realized it might’ve been Nancy after Kathleen had gone home that day, and this prompted her family to continue looking for Nancy across the United States.

The local authorities have expressed hope in potentially cracking the case of her disappearance and death open despite the 50-year gap between her going missing and her body’s identification. They are currently asking those who knew the young girl to come forward for questioning.

“Ms. Fitzgerald’s peers would all likely be in their 60s today, so we firmly believe that it is not too late to determine what happened to her and why – and, if possible, to hold any living person who may be responsible accountable for it,” prosecutor Raymond Santiago said.

Skeleton New Jersey Girl Rep. Pic
The skeletal remains of a teenage girl who has been missing since the 1970s has been positively identified by authorities on Monday, as the investigation continues on why she was killed in the first place. This is a representational image. Ahmed Adly/Unsplash.