It’s been a year and a half since the petite woman’s remains were found partially unearthed from a shallow grave in west Fort Worth.
For homicide Detective Kyle Sullivan, learning the woman’s identity has been a case of frustrating close calls.
Her DNA profile has been entered into a missing-persons database and her case included in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. A clay facial reconstruction using her real teeth was made public last summer in the hope that someone might recognize her.
Three times after promising leads surfaced, DNA and dental record comparisons were made, to no avail.
Sullivan said he can theorize only that the victim was from out of state or was living a high-risk lifestyle, such as working as a prostitute, that left her less likely to be noticed or reported missing.
“Out of sight, out of mind,” Sullivan said.
The woman’s skull was discovered on March 20, 2013, by a crew digging in woods northwest of Calmont Avenue and Alta Mere Drive.
Other remains were later unearthed by a team led by Dana Austin, a forensic anthropologist for the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
Investigators believe the woman likely died between October 2012 and early 2013. Officials have declined to release the cause of death, but she has been ruled a homicide victim.
Sullivan said the grave’s proximity to a Super 8 Motel could suggest that the woman or her killer was passing through the area.
The woman is described as Hispanic or possibly Asian, 21 to 35 years old and 4 feet 11 inches to 5 feet 4 inches tall. She had long, wavy brown hair, cut into layers and probably bangs, and wore pink- and blue-striped pajama or lounge pants with a multicolored print blouse.
Three of her upper teeth involved a dental bridge that replaced a missing lateral incisor. Sullivan said the dental work, composed of porcelain and nonprecious metal, appears to have been done in the U.S.