In May 1985, the charred remains of an unidentified African American woman were found burning in a pile of tires on the side of I95 Turnpike in Westport, Connecticut. Investigators observed that the woman’s hands and feet had been removed and were not recovered with the rest of her remains. Investigators estimate that the woman was between 30 and 40 years old, and that she stood 5’5” in height, and weighed between approximately 120 to 130 pounds at the time of her death. Investigators described the unknown woman’s hair as kinky and curly. However, investigators were unable to make a definitive determination about the woman’s eye color, hair color, or cause of death. Investigators estimate that the woman had died the same day that her remains were discovered.
Along with the woman’s remains, investigators also recovered several personal items. On the woman’s body, there was a pair of Russler brand blue jeans, a brasserie with two safety pins as clasps, and a wool wrap-around weather that contained a pack of Salem brand cigarettes in the pocket. Additionally, a plain gold chain was recovered.
Since the discovery of the remains, law enforcement investigators have diligently pursued various leads about the unknown woman’s identity. In July 2012, the case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as case number #UP10474. Despite the exhaustive efforts of law enforcement, the woman’s identity has remained a mystery. With few leads for investigators to pursue, the case went cold.
In 2022, the Connecticut Office of Chief Medical Examiner partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the woman or a close relative. Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Connecticut Office of Chief Medical Examiner by calling 860-679-3980 and referencing agency case F85-1184 or NamUs ID #UP10474.
A DNASolves crowdfund has been created to raise funds for the remaining casework costs. Anyone can contribute here.