Portland cold case investigators say the 1999 killing of a 24-year-old woman who was shot in the head and stuffed in a bag could hinge on new forensic testing or a mystery witness who could still come forward.
The victim, Veronica James, was living on the edge of society at the time of her death.
On Jan. 19, 1999, a neighbor on his daily walk discovered James' body in the driveway of a vacant home in the 9100 block of Southeast Taylor Street. James' body had been stuffed in a bag and dumped like trash, cold case investigators said.
"(The neighbor) went to move the bag and thought, this doesn't feel right," said cold case investigator Mike Stahlman. "There was a police officer, a Portland officer in the area, so he flagged him down. 'You should go check that bag,' and this lady's body was inside the bag."
Police said whoever dumped James' body likely knew the house had been vacant for some time and surmised the bag could have gone unnoticed for days or weeks.
Initial investigators canvassed the neighborhood and a nearby park for witnesses, but tips led nowhere.
Police said James had a history of drug problems and had recently been in jail. There was also a disturbing incident right before her murder.
"There was a lounge on 82nd, a nearby lady who worked there thought she saw her the day before in the lounge, fearful, like someone was chasing her, threatening her," Stahlman said.
Police never tracked down who that may have been or if it was related to James' murder. They believe James' killing remains a solvable case if they gain new information from forensic testing or a mystery witness.
If you have any information about this crime, you can leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com or text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.
Visit tipsoft.com to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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