LOCATION: SIMPSON COUNTY, KY
DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2001
EVENT: DISCOVERY OF HUMAN REMAINS
Just 12 miles from the Tennessee border and 50 miles north of Nashville a survey crew working on I-65 discovered the remains of an unidentified woman on October 9, 2001. She was found near the northbound lanes of the highway and it appeared that she had been thrown over a guardrail, down an embankment, and into a grove of trees. Investigators were up against one of the most difficult scenarios: a horrific crime, an unidentified victim found near a major highway, a killer on the loose and long gone from the scene. Anyone who has spent any time working violent crimes will tell you how difficult it is to solve the crime when the identity of the victim is unknown.
Investigators turned to science for help and to then Kentucky State Forensic Anthropologist, Dr. Emily Craig. Dr Craig is a veteran forensic anthropologist and has worked tirelessly worldwide to bring identities to the nameless. Her specialized skills allow the victim's skeletal remains to literally tell her a story.
In this case Dr. Craig was able to ascertain that the remains belonged to a Caucasian female who was between the ages of 25 and 35. She would have stood between 5'4" and 5'8". Her weight would have been in the range of 90-130 lbs. She had reddish brown shoulder length hair, decayed teeth, healed fractures to the upper right arm and a rib and likely suffered from chronic back problems.
Dr Craig determined the post mortem interval would have been weeks, meaning that she died somewhere between August 1, 2001 and October 1, 2001.
Dr. Craig also performed a clay facial reconstruction of the victim which is pictured below. The reconstruction is intended to provide a good likeness of the victim, but not necessarily an exact likeness. The reconstruction was completed using anthropological data and known parameters of the human face. The result is such that those who knew the victim in life would be able to recognize her.
The victim also had an outline tattoo of a rose with a stem above her left breast. It is pictured below.
Two rings were found near the body. One is a simple gold band. The other is a striking ornate silver ring that is painted with blue enamel and adorned with roses and leaves. The rings are pictured below.
With precious little to go on, investigators continued to search for answers as the already cold case grew colder.
In June of 2007 the case information was entered into the NamUs database. Namus.gov is a national repository that can be utilized by both the general public and law enforcement from all over the county. It consists of two extraordinary databases. One is a database of missing persons cases and the second, a database of unidentified remains cases. Case information from all over the United States is entered into Namus and records are cross referenced with the aim of finding matches between missing persons and unidentified remains cases.
The victim in this case has already been checked against 67 different missing persons reports and continues to be run as new cases come in. This is a valuable tool to investigators all over the country as it allows the information to be checked against cases that the investigator may not have had access to otherwise.
In 2010, with the help of a Northern Kentucky company, Jewel-Craft, it was determined that the wedding band found with the victim had been manufactured by a mass production company, Tessler and Weiss. Tessler and Weiss manufactures jewelry that is sold to distributors all over the world.
In January of 2011 Detective Tim Adams, then with the Kentucky State Police, made a bold move and posted the pictures of the rings and the facial reconstruction to the KSP Facebook page. It was the first time that Post Three had utilized Facebook in an effort to reach out to the public with information regarding an unsolved crime. It was a brilliant move and paid off almost immediately as attention to the case grew and the media picked up on the buzz.
Information came in indicating that the manufacturer of the striking blue ring was a company named Vargas that is no longer in business. Subsequent research revealed that particular design of ring was manufactured by several different companies in Rhode Island during the 1950's and 1960's and more than likely would not have been made any later than the 1970's. The jewelers stamp on the inside of the ring (pictured below) confirmed that the manufacturer was indeed Vargas.
Investigators continue to track down information available from the distributors that Vargas sold it's designs to and they are very hopeful that important information will be gleaned from these leads. Most importantly, it seems likely that the ring was manufactured before the victim was born or when she was very young, which lends itself to several scenarios about how the victim came to own the ring. Detective Adams, speaking about the case, remarked that he is absolutely certain that this case is solvable. He firmly believes that the key to resolving this case is to continue to get the pictures of the rings and of the clay facial reconstruction out to the public. Though Detective Adams is now serving with a different law enforcement agency, he remains hopeful that this mystery can be solved.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
If you have any information on this case, please contact the Kentucky State Police in Bowling Green at (270)782-2010.
To all of my readers: Please share this blog post and the video below. Together we can help give this woman back her story.
The You Tube video below was created by StillTheySpeak.com volunteers in honor of this victim.
Even if you don't have any information on this case, you can literally help to solve it by posting this video to your website or Face Book account, or by e-mailing it to your friends and family and asking that they also pass it on. You never know who they know who might know someone who just might have the information needed to solve this case and bring this woman back home. Like ripples in a pond, let's work together to see that this information and this victim's story continue to go out. You can be the critical link in the chain that keeps this information circulating.
Because she matters...