updated 11/17/2008 9:04:33 PM ET 2008-11-18T02:04:33

A mysterious disappearance of an Alzheimer's patient during a layover at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport seven years ago became a homicide case Monday after an examination of skeletal remains found miles from the airfield.

The Tarrant County medical examiner used DNA tests to identify the remains as 70-year-old Marjorie Dabney and ruled that her death was caused by a blow to the head, police said.

The remains were found last year near Lewisville Lake, about 15 miles north of the airport. Last month, Dabney's clothing and business cards were found near the lake.

"I'm still shocked," Dabney's daughter, Candice Price, 38, of Indianapolis, told The Associated Press on Monday.

She said that in the years after her mother went missing, she convinced herself that someone had found her mother and was caring for her. Her mother was diabetic and an Alzheimer's patient.

'I want to know why'
"To get this, that somebody hit her upside the head — you can't prepare yourself for this," Price said. "I'm furious because I'm hearing that someone has killed my mother. I want to know why. I want to know when."

Authorities could not determine when Dabney died or if she was killed at the location where the remains were found, Linda Anderson, a spokeswoman for medical examiner, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Dabney disappeared Dec. 5, 2001, while traveling with her husband from Indianapolis to Bakersfield, Calif., where they were to move into a new home. During the layover, an airline escort accompanied Dabney's wheelchair-bound husband to the restroom and asked Dabney to meet them at the gate. She never showed up and couldn't be located.

Her mysterious disappearance drew national attention when trial lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. joined the family in the search. Cochran was one of the attorneys who represented O.J. Simpson during his 1995 murder trial in Los Angeles.

In 2003, Dabney's husband, who had filed a $10 million lawsuit against American Airlines, agreed to an undisclosed settlement.

Price said that her father was in shock after learning of the developments in her mother's death. "He's in disbelief," she said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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