In June 1973, at approximately 11:20 a.m., fishermen found the body of an unidentified female in the San Diego Bay between Laurel Street and the US Coast Guard Station. The woman’s body had been dismembered and placed into an orange suitcase and several plastic bags. An autopsy revealed the individual to be a victim of a homicide. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP58950.
In 2020, the remains were exhumed by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office to attempt identifying the individual through DNA. With financial assistance from NamUs, a portion of the skeletal remains was sent to Othram, a private, forensic biotechnology company. Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract from the highly-degraded remains, recovered a half-century ago. Then, Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® was utilized to develop a comprehensive DNA profile. Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team used the profile to develop investigative leads that were returned to the San Diego Police Department.
With the leads in-hand, San Diego Police investigators were able to eventually identify the unknown homicide victim as Arminda Grangeia Rodrigues da Silva Ribeiro born September 16, 1943 in Portugal. Investigators learned that Ribeiro lived in the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, NJ, prior to her death. Additionally, she still had family who lived in that area.
After getting married and having two children, her family emigrated from Covões, Portugal, to Newark, NJ, which is home to a large Portuguese community. After speaking with people who knew of Ribeiro, investigators learned that she worked at a trailer fabrication company in 1973. Even though San Diego also has a large Portuguese community, it is unknown what connection Ribeiro may have had between Newark and Southern California.
Police are seeking assistance trying to identify the company she worked for in Newark and any potential connections she had to San Diego. Anyone with information regarding this incident or who recognizes this suspect is encouraged to call the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.
The services provided by Othram for this case were funded by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). NamUs is a national clearinghouse funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice and managed through a contract with RTI International that assists the criminal justice community with the investigation and resolution of missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons cases across the United States and its territories. We are grateful to RTI, NamUs, and the NIJ for the support.