TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Officials with the Pima County Sheriff's Department announced today they have positively identified human remains as those of a Tucson woman missing nearly 12 years.
Linda Watson was 35 when she disappeared on Aug. 20, 2000. Her mother, Marilyn Cox, and a friend, Renee Farnsworth, were shot to death on May 7, 2003.
There is still no official word on what exactly happened to Watson, or where it happened. Only that it happened in Pima County some time ago.
According to the Sheriff's Department, DNA testing confirmed that the remains are those of Watson.
This is significant because it could potentially shed some light on how she was killed, and more importantly, who did it.
Watson's ex-husband and ex-boyfriend were both considered investigative leads, even suspects, in her disappearance.
But without better evidence linking either of them to her abduction and slaying, authorities haven't been able to make an arrest.
That could change now that investigators have a crime scene and human remains to work with.
Captain Chris Nanos of the Pima County Sheriff's Department said, "When we have a body there's a lot of science that can tell us a lot about the cause of death ... the timing of the death. So yes it does, it opens up a lot of different avenues for us to look at."
Watson's aunt, Pat Hinkle said, "Of course they're not telling me everything, but I'm hoping that since they did find her that there was some sort of evidence there that points to the perpetrator that did this."
Authorities are still looking for whoever is responsible for Watson's disappearance and believe whoever abducted Watson likely played a role in the death of her mother and friend.
Prior to her death in 2003, Marilyn Cox said if anything ever happened to her, it's because of the same person who killed Watson. At the time, she accused Watson's ex-husband, David Watson.
According to the Sheriff's Department, David Watson continues to be cooperative with the investigation and he is still considered a primary suspect in the case.
"We've not eliminated anyone as far as suspects go. So, yes, to answer your question, if they were suspects then they are still suspects," Nanos said.
Linda Watson's aunt said, "Ultimately after this much time I just want to see Linda put to rest. I want that chapter of our life closed, whether they get the person who did this or not. I want to see justice, but if they don't it's not gonna bring her back."
If you have any information, please call 88-CRIME.