TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - This Christmas Eve will mark 16 years since Debra Dixon's body was found by a Toledo city worker. She had been beaten and strangled.

Now Dixon's family has turned to WTOL with the hope that sharing her story will bring her killer to justice.

Dixon's brother says he thinks about his younger sister daily. He says she was an accomplished musician and loved animals, but he says that love for animals took Debbie down the wrong path. She turned to prostitution to pay for the 40 cats she owned.

"People make choices in their life and sometimes they are poor choices, and they lead a lifestyle maybe you or I don't agree or approve of," said Toledo Police Cold Case Detective Jay Gast. "But it doesn't necessarily mean their life should be ended before its time in such a violent manner."

On Christmas Eve, 1999, Dixon's brother left town to visit family. Before leaving he heard a news report about a woman's body found dumped, beaten and strangled on the 4100 block of Creekside in an industrial part of north Toledo. When he got back to town that murder was still making headlines.

"I got a little worried and went into neighborhoods I normally don't associate with looking for her," he said.

Then detectives delivered the bad news. But after investigating, Dixon's case went cold.

In 2006, truck driver Dellmus Colvin admitted to killing several women across the country, including six women in Toledo. Investigators say Dixon and Colvin knew each other and Dixon's murder matched up with the serial killer's M.O.

"We know Debra Dixon's body was disposed in the same area where another one of Dellmus Colvin's victims were disposed of, so we have to give that a hard look," said Tom Ross, a former detective with the Toledo Police Department.

But Colvin never admitted to killing Dixon.

"So I either have to have peace with the possibility he did do it and he is where he is supposed to be, or feel like there is someone out there continuing to do that," said Dixon's brother.

Dixon would have turned 60 this year. Her family is hoping this will be the year her case is solved.

Det. Gast says DNA evidence has not come back linking Colvin to Dixon’s murder, and without a confession, they don’t have enough to charge him with the crime. They’re asking the public to come forward now with any information that may help them solve this case by calling Crime Stoppers at 419-255-1111.