MANSFIELD, Texas (CBS11) –  Mary Washington spent years searching and praying for her daughter.

She last saw Tammie Washington in 2004 and suspected the then 33-year-old mother of two boys was using drugs.

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Tammie Washington (Mansfield PD)

“I thought maybe she was staying away ‘cause she didn’t want us to know that she was on drugs or something like that,” she said.

In August 2017, Mansfield police called, asking if she’d be willing to provide DNA.

They believed Tammie might be the woman they’d spent years trying to identify.

“Since 2015, we knew we had a victim. We just didn’t know who she was,” said Captain David Griffin.

A Mansfield resident discovered the human remains in August of 2015 in a creek bed near a bridge.

Police say what they recovered was a skeleton, and not even a complete one.

“There was no human flesh, tissue,” said Captain Griffin. “We knew we had a homicide, but we didn’t know what we were investigating or who was the victim.”

A botanist brought in to study plants around the remains estimated the victim had been there since at least 2011. Police were able to confirm Tammie was last seen in 2005, placing her time of death sometime within that 6 years span.

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With little else to go on, they asked a forensic artist with Texas Rangers for help creating renderings of what the victim may have looked like.

“That’s her – from her bone structure, to her mouth – that’s her,” said Angie Brown.

Brown immediately recognized the images being shown on the news as her childhood friend and called police.

“I was like, I should call a detective,” she said.

It was the break investigators had been waiting for.

DNA samples provided by Tammie’s family were a positive match to the body near the bridge.

“I’ve been praying for closure for the sake of her children,” said Washington. “I got it, not the way I wanted it, but the way God sees fit for me to have it.”

Now police and Tammie’s family want to know who killed her.

“It hurts because my baby lay out and rotted in somebody’s field, down to the bones,” said Washington.

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Investigators are asking for anyone with information on where Tammie Washington was or what she was doing after 2015 to give them a call.