Unidentified woman found dead in 1986 is exhumed to test her DNA: 'Has the family been looking for her?'

PHOTO: Authorities are looking to identify a woman nicknamed "Miss Molly" who died in 1986 in Kansas.PlayFBI
WATCH Unidentified woman found dead in 1986 exhumed to test DNA

An unidentified woman found dead in 1986 was exhumed this week in an effort to test her DNA and finally discover who she is, authorities said.

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The woman's partially-clothed body was recovered on Jan. 25, 1986, along Interstate 70 in rural Saline County, Kansas, the FBI said. She was found in a creek and the coroner ruled she died from drowning, said Darrell Wilson, who was Saline County Sheriff in 1986.

PHOTO: The body of an unidentified woman nicknamed Miss Molly was found in a creek along I-70 in Saline County, Kansas, on Jan. 25, 1986. KAKE
The body of an unidentified woman nicknamed "Miss Molly" was found in a creek along I-70 in Saline County, Kansas, on Jan. 25, 1986.

She was believed to be about 25 to 30 years old at the time, the FBI said. Authorities said stretch marks indicated she had given birth somewhat recently, said Wilson.

As police tried to identify her, Wilson nicknamed the Jane Doe "Miss Molly." He said he doesn't remember how he thought of the name but told ABC News it's stuck at the sheriff's department ever since.

PHOTO: Authorities are looking to identify a woman nicknamed Miss Molly who died in 1986 in Kansas. FBI
Authorities are looking to identify a woman nicknamed "Miss Molly" who died in 1986 in Kansas.

But decades went by without answers.

Wilson, who retired in 1997, said "Miss Molly" has always been in the back of his mind.

"A few months ago I talked to the current sheriff about it ... he was very interested in this case," Wilson said. "We talked about a DNA test and talked about exhuming the body."

He went on, "You're supposed to have next of kin that authorizes us to do that. So what we had to do was get the county attorney to take the issue to court, to get a court order."

On Monday, after an order of exhumation and a search warrant, her body was exhumed from Gypsum Hill Cemetery in Kansas so samples can be obtained for DNA testing, the Saline County Sheriff's Office said.

Wilson said he's hoping "Miss Molly"'s DNA will match with a family member.

"I'm hoping to learn who she is, where she's from...has the family been looking for her?" he said. "Once you find that out, you may be able to springboard off of that into how she happened to be in Kansas and how she happened to be thrown or fell off that bridge and into the stream."

"Thank God the sheriff and his officers have not given up 33 years later -- they are still working on that case," Wilson said.