Investigators exhumed a young woman’s body, hoping new DNA evidence will help them solve a 35-year-old murder.

Detectives are actively searching for 25-year-old Mary Schlais' killer. Schlais was murdered in 1974 and her body dumped in southeast Dunn County.

The former Dunn County sheriff says a witness saw a man take her body out of a trunk and drag it to the side of 408th Avenue. That's near Elk Creek Lake about 4 miles west of Eau Claire.

"Well, we bought the house in 1970," says Mary Dodge, who still remembers when Schlais’ body was found about 200 yards away.

She was home that afternoon and still lives in that same house. She remembers that day when a delivery man told her there was a body just a quarter mile from her home.

“I asked him what was wrong and he said there's a girl's body down at the end of the road," Dodge says.

Dodge's neighbor told investigators he saw a man dragging a body from a gold or orange car.

“He saw the body as the guy opened up the trunk he saw the body," Dodge says.

That neighbor, Denny Anderson, has since passed away but former Dunn County Sheriff Daryl “Corky” Spagnoletti says he remembers the call on February 15, 1974, as if it were yesterday. He says before officers even got to the scene they knew it was a murder case.

"Her body was carried a few feet off and just dumped in the snow,” Spagnoletti says. “It had happened not too long before we got there because she was still warm."

The former sheriff says Mary Schlais had been stabbed more than a dozen times. The witness described the car as orange or gold, but investigators were never able to figure out an exact model. Spagnoletti says there were several suspects over the years but the department was never able to make an arrest. Mary Schlais’ brother still hopes that day will come.

“It's been so dog-gone long,” Don Schlais says. “She was smart, driven, educated."

She was studying for her master’s degree when she was killed. Don Schlais his little sister was known to hitch-hike but says no one really knows what she was doing in the days leading up to her death. Investigators say she might have been hitch-hiking to in Chicago.

"This would be perhaps the last hope that there might be some residual DNA that could be recovered, but you know only time will tell," he says.

“It's been a rather unsettling thing to know that's happened down here," Dodge says.

Current Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith says the department has been staying in contact with schlais' family and they agreed to have her body exhumed. The sheriff's department is working with the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation and the Dunn County medical examiner to look for new DNA evidence. But they say it could be weeks before they know if they have anything new to work with.