DeKalb authorities name woman whose body was dumped in the woods 30 years ago

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:29 PM EDT
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DECATUR, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - It could bring closure to families that have waited years for answers. Several cold cases in DeKalb County might be one step closer to being solved, including case dating back 30 years.

DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston announced Wednesday her office with the help of several other state and federal agencies have identified the remains of a 52-year-old woman whose body was dumped behind a Tucker area hotel along Ranchwood Drive back in September of 1993.

“DNA and genetic analysis are a new procedure that we can use to link someone to a specific family,” said Sherry Boston, DeKalb County district attorney.

A newly formed DeKalb County cold case task force was able to identify Rebecca “Becky” Burke thanks to a $500,000 grant, which paid for DNA testing of Burke’s remains.

“Identification in these cases is perhaps the first step. Reuniting families with the remains is another step,” said Boston.

Burke is one of among 27 unidentified persons in DeKalb County dating back to 1980′s. The DA’s office is labeling 13 of them, including Burke’s death, a homicide. Officials say Burke’s family is feeling sense of relief, but not closure just yet.

“They learned that they lost a loved one. That she had a very violent death. So, they’re looking forward to us continuing to pursue all the leads and hoping to give them more answers as to what happened to their loved one,” said Shannon Hodder, deputy assistant chief district attorney, DeKalb County.

Officials are still trying to find Burke’s killer. They’re asking anyone who may have interacted with Burke in the summer and early fall of 1993 to come forward. You can call the DA’s cold case tipline at 404-371-2444. Callers can remain anonymous.

The DA’s office is holding a missing persons event and DNA drive on May 20, 2023. Families of missing people are encouraged to donate their DNA to be added to a database, in hopes of solving the remaining cold cases in DeKalb County. The DNA drive is being held at the DeKalb County Public Library on Covington Highway at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.