A woman whose body was found floating in a Canadian river nearly 50 years ago has finally been identified by authorities, and a man has been charged with her murder.

In a Wednesday press release, Ontario Provincial Police said that DNA testing proves that 48-year-old American Jewell “Lalla” Langford is the woman dubbed the “Nation River Lady” in 1975, when her strangled body was found floating in eastern Ontario’s Nation River.

Authorities explained that a DNA profile was obtained in 2019 and through a lab in the United States using whole genome sequencing, the sample matches samples from two family members listed in a family DNA tree.

“This is believed to be the first case in Canada of this nature to identify human remains through Forensic Genealogy,” the press release stated.

Authorities said that Langford was a prominent member of the Jackson, Tennessee, business community and co-owned a spa with her ex-husband. Born in 1927, police say Langford traveled to Montreal in April 1975 and never returned home to her family in Tennessee.

In addition to identifying Langford, police said they have charged 81-year-old Randy Nichols with her murder and believe the two knew each other.

“For 47 years, Jewell Langford’s family did not know where she was or if they would ever learn what happened to her,” Dr. Dirk Huyer, Chief Coroner for Ontario, said.

“As science and technology progressed over the years and with continued collaboration by all investigating organizations, we were finally able to answer those questions. Our work is about finding the truth for families like Jewell’s and never giving up regardless of the passage of time.”

Police explained they did not reveal Langford’s identity until now in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation and said Langford’s remains were repatriated to the United States in March 2022 followed by a memorial service and burial.

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