Police in New Brighton identify remains from cold case dating back to 2000

Police in New Brighton announced a break in a cold case over 20 years old Friday.

According to a news release, a woman whose remains were found 23 years ago has been identified as Gail Marlene Johnson, who was 40 at the time of her death.

Johnson’s remains were found in Long Lake Park on Sept. 15, 2000, according to the news release. Police say they were able to identify Johnson, of Minneapolis, through a DNA test.

“It’s been 23 years and we never gave up on finding out who this woman was and what happened to her,“ New Brighton Public Safety Director Tony Paetznick said in a statement. “Identifying her provides an important new clue as we continue our work to determine the circumstances of her death.”

Because of the condition of Johnson’s remains, the medical examiner could not identify a cause of death but considered the death “suspicious.”

According to law enforcement, Johnson was 5’7″, 135 lbs with light brown hair. Johnson drove a black or gray 1989 Ford Mustang and had been a sex worker known to frequent Lake Street, police say.

Her last known interaction with police was in July of 2000.

Police are encouraging anyone who knew Johnson or had contact with her to reach out to the New Brighton Department of Public Safety.