Alcoa Police unveil sculpture of unidentified cold case victim

Alcoa Police unveil sculpture of unidentified cold case victim

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"She's a black female, about 17-25 years old," said Forensic Artist Joanna Hughes, as she showed us the sculpture she just finished. "She's a black female, about 17-25 years old," said Forensic Artist Joanna Hughes, as she showed us the sculpture she just finished.
Her body was found in a grassy area in Alcoa in 2003. Her body was found in a grassy area in Alcoa in 2003.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) – Police in Alcoa are releasing a major new clue in a cold case. They've just reconstructed the face of a woman whose remains were recovered in a creek in Alcoa back in 2003.

Investigators have unveiled the newly-sculpted piece exclusively to 6 News, along with other evidence that could help them figure out who she is.

"She's a black female, about 17-25 years old," said Forensic Artist Joanna Hughes, as she showed us the sculpture she just finished.

She had only most of the skull to work with, but not all of it. So she feels the upper portion of  the woman's face is probably the most accurate.

"I would say the middle of face up," said Hughes.

A surveyor was walking by the creek in 2002 when he stumbled on the skull. As investigators searched, they recovered a whole box of bones, clothes, even parts of the woman's weave.

"A t-shirt that says ‘I don't need a great deal of love, I need a steady supply'," said Alcoa PD Det. Kris Sanders, reading out what was printed on a sleeveless shirt they found.

In addition, they have a blue fleece jacket they believe belonged to her. They also found some clothing with a tag that could be linked to clothes like scrubs, worn by medical personnel.

One of several theories they have is this woman may have been from further North in the country, but was the victim of a truck driver serial killing.

"They were picking up hitchhikers, prostitutes, that type of thing. They would take them, murder them, and dump their bodies in various locations," Det. Sanders said.

Whoever she was, or whatever happened to her, sculpting the face could open a new chapter in a search for answers.

"Ten years is a long time to be bones in a box. She deserves to be found. To have a home again, and a family. Hopefully someone's looking for her and we can bring her home," Hughes said.

Police say the woman had very unique teeth that protruded outwards. In a few days, they will take pictures of the sculpture and send it out to national databases.

If you think you know who she is, call the Alcoa Police Department at 865-981-4111.

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