KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WVEC) -- The investigation into a woman's murder in Kill Devil Hills is slowly gaining traction 20 years later after officers found her body following a deadly house fire.

Fire crews responded to a house fire on July 13, 1997 in the 2000 block of Norfolk St.

Once inside the home, they discovered Denise Johnson's body, but after trying to resuscitate her, crews found she never suffered from smoke inhalation or burn injuries, but was stabbed in the neck.

There were additional wounds to her body that indicated she fought for her life and succumbed to a combination of exsanguination and smoke inhalation.

Dozens of items of evidence were collected from the scene and the aid of the FBI was enlisted to create a criminal profile of the killer.

Johnson was last seen alive at a convenience store accompanied by a female described as young, blond and between 5'5" and 5'10".

That woman has never come forward or been positively identified.

Advances in forensics science have opened opportunities to reexamine evidence collected during the original investigation.

Police encourage anyone with any information about Denise Johnson's murder to contact the Kill Devil Hills Police Department at (252) 449-5337.

Anonymous tips may also be submitted through the Crime Line by using the online form here or the anonymous tip line at (252) 473-3111 or 800-745-2746.