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Body identified in 26-year-old Marshall County cold case

The Marshall County Sheriff's Office said that the previously-unidentified body has now been identified as Jefferey Douglas Kimzy of Santa Barbara, California.
Credit: Marshall County Sheriff's Office
Jefferey Douglas Kimzy

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. — 26 years ago. 1997. That's when a body was found in a wooded area along Little Cotaco Creek just off of Eagle Rock Road in Union Grove in Marshall County. Now, the body has been identified, and an Alabama cold case is one step close to being solved. After 26 years, the deceased individual has now been identified as Jefferey Douglas Kimzy, 20, of Santa Barbara, California.

In a release on May 24, 2023, the Marshall County Sheriff's Office said:

The body was identified as that of a white male; however, due to the removal of the head, hands, and feet, it was impossible to give an accurate age or description. There was also some other mutilation of the body, which appeared to be consistent with a forensic countermeasure. The autopsy results found that the manner of death was a homicide, and that the removal of the body parts was done intentionally; most likely to make identification impossible.

Investigators from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation worked tirelessly to identify the individual and followed up on numerous leads; but were still unsuccessful in making a positive identification. The case was entered into the FBI’s VICAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program); however, there were no credible leads generated there either. Throughout the years leads stopped coming in, and eventually the case went cold.

Then along came improvements in DNA and Genealogical research. After 26 years, the deceased individual has now been identified as Jefferey Douglas Kimzy, 20, of Santa Barbara, California.

In November of 2019; Sheriff Sims and then-Chief Investigator Keith Wilson made contact with Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA Technology company. Through a process called DNA Phenotyping, Parabon could give us some possible physical characteristics for what our subject may have looked like. Today, we want to announce we do have persons of interest involved in this case and are actively pursuing those leads. Also, we will be working with Parabon on DNA that we have recently become aware related to items found at the scene. 

If anyone has any information about this case from that time period, please call the Sheriff's Office at 256-582-2034. There have many investigators who have worked on this case over the course of many years and some of them are with us today. I know they would like to see this case solved, but by having a positive identification will help us get closer to solving this case. I want to thank all the investigators, the people at Parabon who worked tirelessly on this case, Alabama Department of Forensic Science, Marshall County Coroner's Office, Marshall County District Attorney's Office and everyone involved.

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