Human remains discovered in a Vermont gravel pit more than a year ago have been identified as those of a 43-year-old upstate New York mom who police say was murdered.
The case stems back to Sept. 17, 2019, when a hiker stumbled upon what looked like a human jawbone in an abandoned gravel pit in Bennington County.
More than a year later, Vermont State Police investigators announced that, using DNA and other evidence, they had IDed the victim as Jessica Hildenbrandt, of Ballston Spa, NY, the Bennington Banner reported Friday
Though she was a New York resident, Hildenbrandt was known to have close ties to The Green Mountain State, particularly Bennington County, which is about 45 miles away from Ballston Spa.
Police said Hildenbrandt was last in touch with family in July 2019 — the month before her remains were discovered.
Known as “Red,” Hildenbrandt — who also went by the name Jessica Bidot — left behind a son, and other relatives, including her mom, dad, stepmom and brother.
She was described as someone who loved to spend time with family and friends at Sacandaga Lake in the Adirondacks.
“Jessica was a good friend, who always was a shoulder to lean on,” her obituary reads.
Investigators began asking for public assistance on the case in September, when they announced they’d IDed Hildenbrandt as their victim.
“There are many factors that impact that turnaround,” Vermont State Police Detective Lt. John-Paul Schmidt told the newspaper.
“Unfortunately, real-life forensics only vaguely resembles how it is depicted on television and in the movies.”
Her death has been ruled a homicide, the first in Bennington County in more than three years, the paper reported.
Though they’ve determined foul play was involved, authorities don’t yet know when, where or how Hildenbrandt was killed.
Detectives are continuing to track down leads, with Schmidt saying that, “We’re always looking for people to talk to us.”
“If they have information, we’d love to hear from them.”
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