St. Louis Major Case Squad to take another look at torso case

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Area Major Case Squad will convene next week to take another look at a gruesome and puzzling case that has remained unsolved for more than three years.

The headless, armless torso of a woman was found June 28, 2004, at an Interstate 70 rest area in Warren County, about 50 miles west of St. Louis. Authorities still haven't identified the victim and have no clues about who killed her.

Warren County Sheriff Kevin Harrison said there are no new leads in the case that drew national attention. Still, about two dozen law officers are expected to meet for about a week starting Monday to review the case, revisit old missing persons reports and see if there's something missed in earlier investigations.

"We're dealing with an extremely, extremely violent crime," Harrison said Wednesday. "We can't even identify the victim, and that's very frustrating. If we can at least identify who she was, we can start talking to friends and associates and start trying to find who killed her.

"It's something we are not just willing to let sit."

The body was initially found by highway workers trimming trees. The light-skinned woman with brown hair was believed to be in her 20s and wearing only a black bra when she was found.

County Coroner Roger Mauzy used money from his department to bury the woman. He even hosted a memorial service a year after the body was found. The Rev. Erich Fechner of Holy Rosary Catholic Church said at the service that the woman had, at least in death, become a part of the community.

Investigators know the woman once had an appendectomy and a Caesarean section and had been physically fit in life. They believe her head and limbs, never discovered, were cut off to make it harder to identify her.

An initial search of missing persons found more than 800 potential matches. So far, none has panned out.

Harrison hopes that news of the renewed investigation will prompt those who may know something to come forward.

"People usually preface their calls by saying, 'It's probably nothing,"' Harrison said. "It's usually those little, seemingly insignificant things that are what we're looking for."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: