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East Tennessee authorities try to identify remains of female found in 2003

Associated Press • Mar 2, 2013 at 5:55 AM

ALCOA, Tenn. -- Police in East Tennessee are hoping a facial reconstruction will finally help them identify the remains of a young female that were found a decade ago.

The Daily Times (http://bit.ly/Xthmne) reports Alcoa detective Kris Sanders asked forensic artist Joanna Hughes to make the reconstruction in an effort to gain information that might solve the case.

Although the lower mouth and chin is an educated guess because not all her bones were recovered, Sanders said he is certain the likeness bears a striking resemblance to the female, who was estimated to be between 17-24 years old. Hughes finished making the reconstruction about a week ago.

"Somewhere someone's missing a daughter or a sister or a friend," Sanders said.

The remains were found beside a creek bed by surveyors scouting out land for an Alcoa Highway Bypass. Police found her bones spread over a large area due to a number of factors, including water flow in the creek.

"Once the body decomposed and became a skeleton it just de-articulated and spread out in different directions," Sanders said.

A forensic anthropology team found 30 bones over a two-day period and determined the female had been dead for at least eight months when her remains were found. They were also able to determine where the female either died or was dumped.

Police still aren't certain whether she died from natural causes or whether she was killed.

When Sanders took over the case in 2006, he took the forensic team back to the area where they recovered nine more bones.

Sanders said he has tried other possible leads to find out where the female might be from, but so far they have proved unsuccessful.

Even though the female's lower jaw wasn't found, the UT forensic anthropology team was able to determine what it might look like by using the rest of the skull. They used an approximate match from the department's bone collection so that Hughes would have a complete skull to work from.


Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.thedailytimes.com

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