National News

Bones in suitcase still a mystery but new leads investigated

Posted 6:11 p.m. Wednesday
Updated 6:13 p.m. Wednesday

— Her identity remains a mystery, but fresh leads are being investigated in the case of a woman whose skull and bones were found inside a suitcase along a Georgia freeway outside Atlanta.

Authorities intend to check out a tip from a relative about a missing female from Chattanooga, Tennessee, said Ted Bailey, an investigator with the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's Office. He said they're also looking into information about a missing female from Virginia.

The new leads came in Wednesday, shortly after Gwinnett County police released a sketch of the woman. Her bones were discovered by a construction worker along Interstate 985 in July. She's believed to be in her 20s, police said.

"We're getting calls, not necessarily on a daily basis, but I got a call earlier today about a missing female out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, so we're going to be comparing dental records to determine if it could be our girl," Bailey said Wednesday.

"We're putting as much effort as possible into identifying her," he added.

The lead on the Virginia case came from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a U.S. Department of Justice program. It involves a nationwide database of missing persons and unidentified bodies. Much of the data is publicly available on a searchable website at https://namus.gov/

The website includes several details about the woman found off I-985.

The luggage that contained her remains was a black, full-size Quest suitcase. She was wearing a black Miley Cyrus hoodie, pink Nike tennis shoes and black Victoria's Secret pants with the words "LOVE PINK" in large letters down one leg.

Investigators estimate the woman died about six months before being found.

"We feel confident that a family somewhere is missing this young woman," Gwinnett County police said in a statement. "By identifying her, we can try to bring closure to a family while trying to solve this crime."

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