Remains found hidden behind hotel 30 years ago now identified, Georgia officials say

A woman’s remains found nearly 30 years ago in Georgia were just identified, officials say.

The woman was identified as Rebecca “Becky” Burke, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office said in a March 22 news release. Burke was 52 at the time of her death.

Officials said Burke’s body was discovered in September 1993 in the woods behind what was a Fairfield Inn and a vacant medical office in the Tucker area, about 20 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. Her body appeared to have been deliberately placed behind an electrical unit and covered with pine straw and branches.

Investigators said Burke was wearing a black t-shirt with “Waikoloa” written on it and blue jeans when her body was found, WAGA reported. She wasn’t wearing any undergarments or jewelry.

An autopsy at the time revealed that the body belonged to a white woman likely between the ages of 35 and 40, District Attorney Sherry Boston said during a March 22 news conference shared by 11 Alive. She appeared to have a neck fracture and facial injuries indicating that her cause of death was likely blunt force trauma.

Experts determined that the body had been hidden in the woods for an extended period of time — anywhere between two weeks and three months, according to the district attorney’s office. There was no identification found near the body, but the autopsy revealed extensive dental work and a left hip replacement.

Using new DNA testing, officials said they were recently able to officially identify Burke and link her to a family member.

Now, officials are asking for the public’s assistance.

Family members said Burke might have also gone by the last names McChesney or Barnes, according to the DA’s office.

Boston said the circumstances surrounding Burke’s death are still unknown to officials. Anyone with information about Burke or the area where she was found around the time of her death should contact the county’s cold case tip line at 404-371-2444.

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