By Sara Powers

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Nearly 25 years later, authorities have identified the remains of a woman found in a roadside park in western Michigan.

Investigators learned that she was Stephanie Judson, a Benton Harbor woman in her 20s who moved to the Grand Rapids area and was killed in 1997, WOOD-TV reported Tuesday.

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DNA and genealogy tracing revealed the identity. The investigation stretched from Kent County to distant relatives in Mississippi and then back to Michigan.

“It’s incredible,” said Dustin Cook, a detective at the sheriff’s office.

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He said Judson “got caught up in a party lifestyle” and had relocated to Grand Rapids from Benton Harbor.

Detectives found Judson’s sister, but their mother died before the mystery was solved.

“She wanted her mom to be here in person to hear this news,” Cook said of Judson’s sister, “but she did say, ‘That just goes to show, even my mom being in heaven, she never stopped working to find her daughter.’”

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