A Cadillac-area woman provided details that helped investigators identify a woman who had been “Kim Doe” for nearly 40 years.

Kim’s body was found on June 17, 1978 in Arkansas. The body of her boyfriend, James Hendricks, was found that same day 12 miles away in Missouri, according to a press release from Michigan State Police.

But nobody knew who they were. One clue: a tattoo that read “Kim,” according to Detective Sgt. Sarah Krebs, who works in the Michigan State Police Missing Persons Coordination Unit.

Then in May 2017, investigators from Missouri State Highway Patrol re-ran fingerprints using new fingerprint technology.

Hendricks was on parole when he disappeared at age 20.

Investigators were able to identify him as the victim in the Pemiscot County, Missouri cold case because the Michigan Department of Corrections had his fingerprints on file.

A Wexford County deputy delivered a death notice to Hendricks’s sister, whose name Krebs could not release.

But the Cadillac-area woman “really broke the homicide back open,” Krebs said.

Hendricks’s sister told investigators about Kim.

Kimberlin Mills lived in Millington and was 19 when she disappeared.

Investigators contacted Mills’s relatives in Michigan and Maine and opened a new missing persons case. Mills’s brother contributed a DNA sample.

Then in December 2017, the Arkansas State Crime Lab, State Medical Examiner confirmed that the body found in Mississippi County, Arkansas in 1978 belonged to Kimberlin Mills.

Neither Mills nor Hendricks had been declared missing in Michigan at the time their bodies were found, according to the MSP news release. Hendricks was a parole absconder and authorities thought Mills had left the state with him.

Investigators believe Mills and Hendricks were killed by the same person.

The case is still open.

Inv. Michael Coleman of the Pemiscot County Sheriff’s Department is investigating Hendricks’s homicide and can be reached at 573-333-4101 or michael.coleman@pemcosheriff.org.

Lt. Preston Williams of the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Department is investigating Mills’s homicide and can be reached at 870-658-2242 or preston.williams@mcagov.com.

Detective Sgt. Sarah Krebs is handling the case for the Michigan State Police and can be reached at 313-215-0675 or krebss@michigan.gov.

By Karen Hopper Usher | Cadillac News