GARY — The teen girl found dead in an alley Sept. 16 died from a gunshot wound in a homicide, officials said.

The Lake County coroner's office released the girl's cause and manner of death Tuesday, one day after meeting with a possible family.

Confirmation of the girl's identity was pending DNA test results.

Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey said Monday she met with potential family members, who provided dental records. 

The coroner's office couldn't use the dental records to confirm the girl's identity because of how young the girl was when the records were collected.

A possible biological mother submitted DNA for analysis, Frey said.

The coroner planned to deliver the DNA samples to Indiana State Police on Wednesday — the appointment day given to her by the lab. She planned to ask for the analysis to be expedited.

Typically, results could take anywhere from six to eight weeks to process, Frey said. Expedited results could take about 10 days.

Investigators with the Gary/Lake County Metro Homicide Unit, Gary Police Department's Juvenile Division, FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had been reviewing missing persons reports as part of efforts to identify the girl.

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Last weekend, Frey released a composite sketch of what the girl might have looked like. The sketch generated new leads and a lot of speculation on social media about the girl's identity.

The girl's body was found by utility workers in an alley near East 20th Place and Pennsylvania Street in Gary. 

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call Detective William Poe, of the Lake County/Gary Metro Homicide Unit, at 219-755-3852.

The coroner's office can be reached at 219-755-3265.

To anonymously report crime in Gary, call 866-CRIME-GP.

Check back at nwi.com for updates as this story develops.

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