The Vacaville Police Department announced Monday that Cynthia Merkley, who was a mother, was 38 years old when her body was discovered in 1991, as Fox 2 reported.
The department said on Facebook: “Back in April of 1991, while the Premium Outlets were under construction, contractors were grading an open field off of Nut Tree Road and Burton Drive, when they located a dead body.”
Vacaville is about 35 miles southwest of Sacramento.
The cold case of Merkley had been reopened every few years.
The department continued on Facebook: “In 1998, Detectives and the Coroner’s Office had her body exhumed and had a Facial Reconstruction done by a law enforcement expert.” Investigators had a model of her face made out of clay, in addition to getting a sketch.
Last year, updated fingerprint technology finally identified Merkley.
“What we think happened is that because she was estranged from her family no one really knew where she went or where she was traveling,” Lt. Chris Polen explained to Fox 2. “But it’s just odd. Even if you were estranged at some point in time the question is asked, ‘Where is my mother, where is my daughter?’”
Police are looking to solve the case and said they remain committed.
“These types of cases really impact the community,” Polen added. “Detectives put their heart and soul into them.”