A sketch showed her prominent cheek bones, broad forehead and wide eyes,
but for 19 years, the name of a Portland woman found dead has remained a
Now, Portland police have renewed the effort to identify her remains and determine exactly how she died.
They're getting a helping hand from Dr. Nici Vance, a forensic anthropologist with the Oregon medical examiner's office.
"I was simply going through the 1993 case files and looking at mysterious deaths, unexplained deaths, suspicious deaths and unidentified people and this was one of the files that I pulled," said Vance.
On Sept. 9, 1993, the body of a woman, between 30 and 40 years old, was found on the east bank of the Willamette River, south of the Burlington-Northern railroad bridge.
Investigators said an autopsy determined she had drowned. The cause of death was determined, but not the manner of death. Detectives said there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
"The way her clothes were, the condition her clothes were in not what I would expect to see from someone who jumped into the water," said Terry Wagner, a cold case investigator.
In 1993, there was no conclusion to the case, so the remains were cremated.
While there is no DNA profile, Vance said there's still plenty of circumstantial information about the woman.
They have dental records, two sketches of her face and a sketch of a silver ring with a distinctive roadrunner that the woman was wearing when she was found. They also know a bit about the woman's medical history.
"Very specific things," Vance said. "She had a cesarean scar, which obviously said she gave birth at some point. She had just recently lost quite a bit of weight."
That information is now in a national database, called NamUs. Vance described the site as revolutionary. NamUs consolidates information about missing persons and unidentified remains, free to the public.
"It's amalgamated, it's all there and it's public, which is a huge deal for us," she said.
Right now, there are 81 people in Oregon, dating back to the 1960s, whose remains are unidentified.
Police said it's possible this woman is from out of state and someone across the country may know her identity.
"They are mysteries," said Vance. "These are the kinds of things that keep me coming back day after day."
If you have any information about this crime, you can leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com, 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 www.tipsoft.com to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:54 AM EDT2013-05-18 06:54:01 GMT
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 11:00 PM EDT2013-05-18 03:00:58 GMT
A masked man barged into a local marijuana dispensary and robbed two people at gunpoint. It happened at 10:45 a.m. Thursday morning at the Relief Medical Marijuana Facility on Southeast 122nd near Glisan.More >
An armed robber held a gun to the back of a woman's head and threatened to shoot her if he didn't get marijuana. More >
Wednesday, May 15 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-05-15 18:57:11 GMT
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well. An Arizona bakery was featured on Friday's episode of the Gordon RamseyMore >
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well.More >
An online beauty contest created by teenage boys is causing a controversy at Newberg High School, but the school can't do much to stop it. It's called May Madness, a bracket contest that ranks high schoolMore >
A "May Madness" bracket at Newberg High School ranks high school girls on their "hotness."More >
One of Alaska's most restless volcanoes has shot an ash cloud 15,000 feet into the air in an ongoing eruption that has drawn attention from a nearby community but isn't expected to threaten air traffic.More >
One of Alaska's most restless volcanoes shot an ash cloud 15,000 feet into the air Friday in an ongoing eruption that is visible for miles when the weather allows.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 4:23 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:23:49 GMT
A SWAT team serving a search warrant in Vancouver arrested two men on charges of rape and unlawful imprisonment.Sergio Leon, 21, and Aaron-Blair Davey, 24, were taken into custody in connection with aMore >
Two men accused of holding a woman down and raping her were arrested in a raid at a Vancouver home yesterday. More >
Friday, May 17 2013 4:10 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:10:42 GMT
SWAT teams arrested three men accused of pointing a loaded gun at a black man at a Vancouver bar and threatening to kill him. Brent Luyster, 32, and his brother Robert Luyster, 31, were both taken intoMore >
SWAT teams arrested three men accused of pointing a loaded gun at a man at a Vancouver bar and threatening to kill him because of his race.More >