SAN FRANCISCO—Authorities have confirmed that skeletal remains discovered in the San Francisco Bay Area have been identified as those of Elisabeth Martinson, a Swedish exchange student that had been reported missing since 1982.

Martinson’s remains, first discovered in a Fremont canyon five years ago, were identified last November using dental records. The coroner’s office has waited until now to make the discovery public, a decision that has yet to be explained.

At the time of her death, the 21-year-old Martinson was attending the College of Marin and living in Greenbrae.

She was last seen on the night of January 17, 1982, when she left home in her family’s Volkswagen Rabbit to go to the grocery store. Ten days after her disappearance, Henry Coleman, a convicted rapist, was found in Oklahoma and arrested in possession of the missing vehicle.

Coleman, who testified that he purchased the vehicle from a man he met in a San Francisco bar, was subsequently found guilty of auto theft and spent five years in prison. Charges were never brought against him in the death of Martinson.

An exact cause of death has not been determined. The victim’s remains have been cremated and sent to her family in the Swedish town of Uddevala.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Department and Fremont Police are still investigating the case.