Muskogee County officials are investigating a decades-old missing persons case. They're working to identify a body that was found more than 30 years ago but has never been identified.
If they're successful, it means a family will finally get closure.
The Muskogee County District Attorney's office confirms the medical examiner is exhuming the body of a woman who was found in 1983 to see if she is the same woman who was reported missing in 1981.
Police discovered the body back in 1983. Earlier this year, the family of a Tulsa woman reported missing in 1981 contacted the DA, asking his office to look into the case once again.
The exhumation is being done at the request of the woman's family. Authorities say there's now enough evidence to give the cold case a closer look.
Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge said the ME will compare records, including dental and DNA if possible.
"They don't want to compromise the integrity of the bones, and so once they remove the bones, they need to compare to the evidence they have."
"They have questions that need to be answered, and they've been looking for their loved one for 30 years," Loge said. "And so if we can help in that process and give them answers and closure, we absolutely want to be part of that."
The DA is not releasing the missing woman's name, but he said the remains belong to an unidentified woman who suffered two gunshot wounds. Now the court-order removal will hopefully reveal whether she was that missing woman.
"This is a slow process and so we're not rushing anything; we could be here a while," said Muskogee County DA Orvil Loge.
Investigators are looking at each and every piece of debris, treating it as evidence. Anything that could match the unidentified remains with a family who's been without answers for so long.
"That's probably the most satisfying part of this, is being able to help a family - hopefully - things will work out, and we can get some closure for the family," said Vernon Martin, Green Hill Cemetery Superintendent.
After the body is removed, it will be taken to the medical examiner's office. Wednesday is the earliest day we could get a positive ID on the body.