Police seek help with '87 killing - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Police seek help with '87 killing

Reconstruction made of woman found shot to death

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Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 11:00 pm

The Marana Police Department has asked the public for help in solving a murder that happened 22 years ago.

Marana police discovered the body of an unidentified woman who had been shot multiple times and left in a culvert near Interstate 10 in northern Marana on Nov. 25, 1987.

After a brief investigation with help from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the case went cold.

"The case really had been forgotten," said Marana Police Department crime scene analyst Tom Mooney.

A year ago, Mooney found himself searching through old case files and evidence boxes.

"In late 2009, I was in a part of the building I don't usually work in," Mooney said. He found a file box sitting in a corner of the room with a stack of crime scene photos and some case details inside. The photos of the murdered young woman sparked his interest in solving the case. He began to search the Internet to find what resources were available to assist him in reopening the case.

One thing he found was that the FBI would make a facial reconstruction from the woman's skull. But her remains had to be exhumed.

After getting permission from Marana Police Chief Terry Tometich, Mooney went though the process of locating the unidentified woman's gravesite. She was found at Evergreen Cemetery in Tucson. Mooney worked with cemetery officials to dig up the woman's remains from the top level of a grave that holds the bodies of three people. Indigent and unidentified people sometimes are buried three deep in public cemeteries.

The remains were taken to the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office, where a DNA sample was taken and her skull prepared to be sent to an FBI laboratory in Virginia. No matches were found in DNA analysis.

With the facial reconstruction now complete, Marana police now hope the image would trigger the memory of someone who may have known the woman who has been identified only as Jane Doe No. 19.

"Basically, we've gone as far as we can go without more information," said Det. Jose Alvarez. "We just need someone to come forward."

Alvarez said the case file shows that his predecessors identified a few potential people of interest, but they were quickly ruled out.

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