Doe Network

56UFWV - Unidentified Female

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Sketches of the victim (far right by Richard M. Vulgamore).

Date of Discovery: Febaruary 13, 1983
Location of Discovery: Littleton, Wetzel County, West Virginia
Estimated Date of Death: 2-3 days prior
State of Remains: Recognizable face (according to available postmortem photographs)
Cause of Death: Undetermined. Possibly suffocation.

Physical Description

Estimated Age: 30-45 years old (most likely at the higher end of age range)
Race: White
Gender: Female
Height: 5'5" to 5'6"
Weight: 135 lbs.
Hair Color: Auburn, medium length.
Eye Color: Possibly brown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Scar on index finger. Caesarean scar. Double pierced ears. Orange painted toenails. Shaved legs and underarms. Blood type is B.

Identifiers

Dentals: Available. Immediate type upper denture likely fitted within eight weeks prior to death. Teeth #17, #18 and #32 of the lower mandible are missing. Tooth #19 Buccal pit amalgam and occlusal amalgam. Tooth #30 MO amalgam and large Buccal amalgam pit. Tooth #31 occlusal amalgam, slight mobility.
Fingerprints: Not available.
DNA: Available (sources differ).

Clothing & Personal Items

Clothing: None.
Jewelry: None.
Additional Personal Items: None.

Circumstances of Discovery

An elderly couple spotted what they believed to be an unclothed body or mannequin lying face down in the snow over a hill near US Route 250 at around noon on Sunday, February 13, 1983. This area was a known location for illegal trash disposal.

The woman had been dead for two to three days but the body was dumped only a few hours before being found. Snow had fallen over the three previous days but there was no snow on top of the body. There were fresh tracks and footprints near the body.

After subjecting possible witnesses to forensic hypnosis, West Virginia State Police troopers began looking for a white male in his 40s in connection with the case. He described the man as "stocky," weighing between 185 and 200 pounds and standing about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He may have driven a 1978 to 1980 Chevrolet two-toned brown pickup truck, possibly with a lighter-colored camper top. The man was apparently spotted in the area where her body was found. There is an additional suspect in the case who is already incarcerated for life without parole, yet police cannot prosecute him until the victim is identified.

Investigators hoped that the recently fitted denture worn by the woman could lead to her identity and searched records in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They were unsuccessful with finding a suitable match. After this case, identification numbers were added to future models of dentures.

There was also a possibility that this particular victim could have worked as a prostitute in the Pittsburg area as the scope of the investigation widened. A local investigator also believes the woman could have had ties to the Hare Krishna commune in Marshal County, WV known as New Vrindaban.

There appeared to be no evidence of a struggle or of sexual assault or signs of violence at the scene of on the body. An autopsy did not reveal any problems with the victim's brain, liver, kidneys, heart or lungs. Police presumed the case to be a homicide, based on the circumstances of the discovery of the body. Strangulation was excluded as a cause of death due to the lack of ligature marks or bruising on the neck. Suffocation, which is determined through a process of elimination, however, could not be excluded.

The unidentified woman was given a funeral and buried in the family plot of a couple who "adopted" her.

Some have speculated that this woman could have been a victim of an unidentified serial killer in a span of killings known as the "Redhead Murders" that began as early as 1978. Some local investigators, however, have disagreed with this theory.

Investigating Agency(s)

Agency Name: West Virginia Office of the Medical Examiner
Agency Contact Person: Lisa Sadler
Agency Phone Number: 304-558-6921
Agency E-Mail: N/A
Agency Case Number: 83-041

Agency Name: Paden City WV State Police Detachment
Agency Contact Person: Corporal William Henderson
Agency Phone Number: 304-455-0913
Agency E-Mail: N/A
Agency Case Number: Unknown

NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: 14234

Information Source(s)

NamUs
Mysterious WV
Wikipedia
WVSP Cold Case Investigator
News Register Archive
Dominion Post Archive
Wetzel Chronicle Archive
Daily Mail News Archive
ID Wanted Organization

Admin Notes

Added: Prior to 2012; Last Updated: 6/19/17


Questions or comments? Please contact appropriate member of the Area Team

** Listed information may be estimated.

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