March 2, 2020
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA – Chesterfield Police are still working to identify a woman whose remains were recovered at a landfill in Chesterfield County in 1986.
On Aug. 7, 1986, workers were unloading trash from the School Street transfer station in Richmond at a Chesterfield landfill when they noticed what appeared to be human remains. Chesterfield police responded, conducted an extensive search and recovered human remains, which were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) for analysis.
The autopsy and other tests completed by the OCME revealed that the remains were those of a white female, about 22 years old to 32 years old. She was likely between 5 feet 1 inch and 5 feet 5 inches tall, likely weighed between 105 pounds and 120 pounds and wore a size 7 or size 7 ½ shoe. She was wearing pink toenail polish and a dark, rubber-like bracelet or band was on her left ankle. The OCME determined her manner of death was homicide.
With the assistance of the OCME and the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, Chesterfield County Police worked to identify the woman. Chesterfield County investigators and the OCME have ruled out multiple missing persons through extensive investigative techniques, including DNA comparisons. To date, the victim remains unidentified.
Last year, detectives in the department’s Unsolved/Major Investigations Group sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Reston, Va., that specializes in DNA phenotyping, which is the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence. Law enforcement agencies use the company’s Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service (Snapshot) to narrow suspect lists and generate leads in criminal investigations.
Using DNA evidence from this investigation, Snapshot produced trait predictions for the unknown woman. Individual predictions were made for her ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape. By combining these attributes of appearance, a Snapshot composite was produced depicting what the unknown woman may have looked like at 25 years old and with an average body-mass index of 22.
Detectives have determined that the victim in this case may have had ties to the following locations: the Richmond (Va.) Metropolitan area; Charlottesville, Va.; Buena Vista, Va.; Lynchburg, Va.; and Baltimore, Md.
Anyone with information regarding the identity of the victim is urged to contact the Chesterfield County Unsolved/Major Investigations Group at 804-717-6024.
Photos: The Snapshot composite of the victim is at right and photos of the victim’s dark, rubber-like ankle bracelet or band are below.