Authorities in Arizona have identified a woman whose remains were found in a canvas sack in the desert over 50 years ago.
According to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office Special Investigation Unit, detectives recently partnered with Othram Inc., a corporation specializing in forensic genealogy, in an attempt to give the woman a name and get insight into the circumstances surrounding her cold-case murder.
On January 23, genetic genealogy helped investigators identify the victim as Colleen Audrey Rice, and DNA testing of one of Rice’s relatives confirmed the finding.
The sheriff’s office said Rice’s body was located near a dirt road just over two miles from US Hwy 93 in Mohave County on Jan. 23, 1971.
The victim’s remains were in a white cotton loosely-woven sack that had been tied at the top with a white cotton rope, according to officials.
The sack had the words “Deer-Pak Ames Harris Neville Co.” printed on it in green.
Investigators believed the victim was between 35 and 40 years old, 5’4” and about 125 to 140 pounds when she was killed.
Rice was dressed in a size 14 multicolored long sleeve blouse and black long sleeve cardigan sweater as well as a size 12 burnt-orange stretch pants that had a tag reading “Symphony, it’s what’s happening.”
She was also wearing a pair of black leather ankle high boots and bobby sox.
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After identifying Rice, the sheriff’s office learned she was born on March 17, 1931, in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Officials said she married William Davis in 1946 in Ohio, but authorities know little about her later years, including why she was in Arizona, because she was estranged from her family.
The investigation is ongoing and the Mohave County Sheriff's Office continues to seek information from the public about the victim.
Anyone with information about Colleen Audrey Rice or the incident that led to her death is requested to contact the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigation Unit at (928) 753-0753 ext. 4408 or toll free at (800) 522-4312 and reference DR# 71-0383.
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