Woman's body found in river unidentified

Sunday, June 12, 2005

CHARLESTON, Mo. -- Officials still have not determined the identity or cause of death of a woman found dead Friday in the Mississippi River.

The woman's body was discovered floating in the Mississippi River at about 5 p.m. Friday near Thompson Bend, which is about six to eight miles from Charleston. Mississippi County Coroner Terry Parker said officials have not yet been able to identify the woman, but she is described as a 5-foot 6-inch white female, weighing 140 pounds, approximately 40 years old with reddish-blond hair.

Parker said possible leads on the woman's identity from police in both Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Farmington, Mo., turned out to be dead ends.

"Really, unless someone, one of her loved ones, steps forward, I'm just at a loss of what we're going to do next," Parker said "It's really very disheartening."

An autopsy was performed Saturday at the Mineral Area Regional Medical Center in Farmington but Parker said preliminary results could not determine the cause of death. However, pathologists found that the woman had been dead for at least a week but had been in the water for no more than 24 hours.

The woman was found to have some fractured ribs, but Parker said the injuries were postmortem and were probably the result of the body hitting something while floating in the river. Parker said the body showed no other signs of violence or physical abuse.

Parker said cause of death could be determined after the body goes through a toxocology test to determine if the woman had taken drugs or alcohol before she died. The results of the test could take two to three weeks.

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