MONTROSE – Federal investigators are seeking details about the life and death of a middle-aged female whose scattered remains were found on the Uncompahgre Plateau near Windy Point on July 7, 1994.
The popular remote hunting and camping spot is accessible by 47 Trail, and reached by Divide Road.
"She's obviously somebody's daughter; she could be somebody's sister," Montrose County Sheriff's Office investigator David Harrison said. "My hope is to identify her and get some closure for her family.
An autopsy report suggested the body had been at Windy Point for 12 to 18 months. Harrison, who took on the “cold case” a year ago, said original investigators found only a coin and pieces of a belt with the remains, but that "could have been left there by anybody. We just don't know."
No clothing, shoes or evidence of camping or hiking equipment was found, and Harrison suspects foul play. Animals ravaged the bones, Harrison said, leaving little organic material behind. The woman’s reddish-brown hair was used to create a DNA profile for a national database.
"It's a good probability that she could have been dumped there. Somebody out there knows what happened to her," Harrison said. "Somebody out there also would like to know what happened to her.
The victim is believed to be a white female between the ages of 35 to 45, and 5'4" to 5'7" tall, with reddish-brown hair. An autopsy report said she suffered from Temporo-Mandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), Scoliosis, and lateral kyphosis of the spine. She had dental work, according to the report.
A skull composite was created after the discovery, but Harrison said its hair and facial features were wrong.
"We just felt there was no real leads,” said Harrison, who is working with Montrose County Coroner Dr. Thomas Canfield and Sheriff Rick Dunlap on the case, and sent the woman’s skull to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in Quantico, Va., for further analysis. “We are hopeful that, with new technologies, the new composite could jog somebody's memory," Harrison said, of the new sketch.
To come up with the sketch, the FBI generated a new model of the woman's face, with a more accurate rendering of her facial features. "I'm excited about this,” said Harrison, of releasing the composite sketch. “I think this is going to maybe trigger somebody's memory, and it may get out to a family member who could help identify this person."
The victim is believed to have been a white female between the ages of 35 to 45, 5'4" to 5'7" tall, with reddish-brown hair. Autopsy reports show she suffered from Temporo-Mandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), scoliosis and lateral kyphosis of the spine, and had dental work.
Harrison, who is working with other agencies on the WIndy Point Jane Doe missing person case, said the new sketch has allowed him to eliminate other possible identifications; the woman did not necessarily come from Montrose.
The FBI recently received an anonymous letter from a person claiming to have information about a pair of murders in Montrose, Delta and Mesa counties nearly 20 years ago. Harrison declined to offer any further details, but would like to talk with the person who wrote the letter.
Call the Montrose County Sheriff's Office at 970/252-4023 and the FBI Denver Division at 303/629-7171 with information.