Marion County deputies solve 39-year-old cold case

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — A positive DNA match has identified a set of human remains that were found in 1977 in a wooded area near County Road 467 and SE 145th Street, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies made the announcement Thursday morning.

The remains were found on the afternoon of March 22, 1977.

Dr. Barbara Wolf of the Fifth District Medical Examiner’s Office and Dr. Michael Warren of University of Florida CA Pound Lab sent a bone of the remains to the University of North Texas in 2009.

The DNA was put into the National Missing Persons Data System without any luck, deputies said.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office reviewed the case of a missing man, Mark Woodard. His DNA was sent to the lab in Texas.

On June 23, the DNA from the bones positively identified the remains as those of Woodard, deputies said.

It’s unclear how Woodard died. Deputies are asking if anyone with information to call Lt. Donnie Winston at 352-369-6831. To remain anonymous, contact the Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352-368-STOP.