LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — A Lexington family left the Lexington Police Department on Monday crying tears of joy after learning who was responsible for murdering their loved one.

DNA helped solve the case of Mary Mathis Davis. One family member told FOX8 it was the best day of her life.

We spoke to a former detective who worked on the case in 1987.

He says officials worked hard to find out who was responsible and at one point believed they had a suspect, but that fell through.

He’s happy to learn more than three decades later, the family may be getting the closure they longed for.

May 30, 1987, would be the last time anyone would see Mary.

She was last seen at Lanier’s Ace Hardware store on South Main Street in Lexington. She came to work that day and worked for a short period of time.

Her family got a phone call hours later after Mary never showed back up after lunch.

The next day, Lexington police came to her parents’ home to tell them the devastating news.

Their 29-year-old daughter, who was also a mother of two, was strangled to death.

For 36 long years, Mary’s family has been holding on to memories and hoping they would get the answers they waited for.

Now their prayers have been answered.

The family tells FOX8 that Mary’s birthday is Sunday. She would have been 65 years old.

Investigators have not given many more details on the discovery or how it happened.