Skeletal remains found inside a truck pulled from a North Texas lake were identified as belonging to a woman who has been missing for nearly 35 years.
The Hood County Sheriff's office told FoxNews.com on Thursday that investigators say dental records confirm the remains belong to Helen Holladay, who was 45 when she went missing in 1979 after getting into a fight with her husband, Herman Holladay.
A domestic disturbance at the Holladays' mobile home was reported to deputies the night of her disappearance in September 1979. Witnesses saw Helen Holladay leave the house and drive away.
On Thursday, a passerby found the partially exposed 1973-model Chevy pickup in Lake Granbury after the lake's water dropped, due to the state's continuous drought, and revealed part of the vehicle. When authorities removed the truck, they found a skeleton inside, clothes and a purse with Helen Holladay's name on them.
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"Early on in the investigation, the husband was looked at as a suspect but he was never charged with a crime,” Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds told the Star-Telegram. “We never got any evidence to tie him to it.”
The woman was officially declared deceased in 1986, and he died a year later.
The vehicle was found far from the road, and investigators "don't believe it was an accident," Deeds said.
“Where the vehicle was found, I find it to be an intentional act, whether it was from Mrs. Holladay or some other means,” Deeds told WFAA.
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Initial inspection revealed no signs of trauma to the skeleton, but Deeds says detectives can't yet determine whether foul play was involved in her death.
"It's still too early in the investigation to rule in one direction or the other," he said. A University of North Texas at Denton forensic investigator is expected to inspect the remains.