Nearly 40 years ago, human remains were found on a beach in Florida.

This week, authorities identified those remains as a woman who was last seen by her family in 1968.

Mary Alice Pultz was 25 at the time. She had been raised in Rockville, Maryland, and had two children. She became estranged from her family then and left with the man who was her boyfriend, John Thomas Fugitt, according to the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

The crime scene at Crescent Beach in Florida in 1985. (St Johns County Sheriff’s Office) (Supplied)

Fast-forward to 1985 when human remains were found by construction workers who were digging for a walkover on Crescent Beach. The manner of death was determined to be a homicide, the sheriff’s office said.

An initial investigation determined the remains belonged to a white female between the ages of 30 and 50.

The case went cold over the years and the remains were left unidentified.

A facial reconstruction created in 2011 gave officials a few leads, but ultimately left the case unresolved.

That was until last year when a big break was discovered after the remains were sent to a lab in Texas specialising in forensic genetic genealogy.

How Mary Pultz died remains unclear but Florida detectives are investigating her death as a homicide. (St Johns County Sheriff’s Office) (Supplied)

With the help of advanced technology at the lab, potential relatives of the victim were identified, the sheriff’s office said. Sergeant Gene Tolbert travelled to meet those relatives and after more DNA samples and testing, authorities were able to positively identify the remains.

Officials identified Pultz as the victim this January, but her homicide remains unsolved.

Fugitt, who went by the first name Tommy, also had an alias: Billy Joe Wallace.

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“We don’t know if Tommy had anything to do with Mary Alice’s appearance but he is certainly at the top of our list in terms of persons of interest,” Tolbert said.

Construction workers discovered the human remains in a shallow grave on Crescent Beach in Florida, in 1985. (St Johns County Sheriff’s Office) (Supplied)

“Although a significant amount of time has passed, detectives are hopeful that the information developed so far will result in a lead(s) that brings final closure to the family,” the sheriff’s office said.

St Johns County is on the northeast coast of Florida. Police say they don’t know if Pultz moved to Florida with her boyfriend. They don’t have any addresses or records of jobs she might have held between 1968 when she left Maryland and 1985 when her remains were found.

Her son, Norman Jenkins, was young when she left.

“I would just like to know if anyone ever saw her or knew her,” Jenkins told police.

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