Woman found in a canvas sack in 1971 ID’d through community-funded DNA testing


Fifty-two years after the woman’s remains were found in the Arizona desert. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office was able to release her name. Colleen Audrey Rice of Portsmouth, Ohio.

Woman found in a canvas sack in 1971 ID’d through community-funded DNA testing

Law enforcement in Arizona has finally been able to identify a woman found dead in 1971. After community members rallied to help fund crucial DNA testing.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office was notified on January 23, 1971. Of a find in a desert near US Highway 93 on Hackberry Road. The body was in a white cotton canvas sack “Deer-Pak Ames Harris Neville Co.” It is printed in green, authorities said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Investigators at the time were unable to identify the woman. It wasn’t until Monday. 52 years after her death — that the sheriff’s office was able to release her name: Colleen Audrey Rice.

The sheriff’s office said that in October 2021. The agency’s Special Investigations Unit worked. With an artist to draw a sketch of what Rice might look like. They released the sketch to the public in hopes that someone might have information.

Last year, authorities began working with Othrum Inc., a forensic genealogy company,. “To determine if advanced DNA testing. And forensic-grade genome sequencing could help provide insight. Into the woman’s identity and the circumstances. Surrounding her untimely death,” the sheriff’s office said.

Authorities have donated $1,000 for DNA testing and are asking the public for the remaining $6,5000. Within five days, the money was collected.” On January 23, 2023, the victim found her voice. Through the use of forensic genetic genealogy. The victim was identified as Colleen Audrey Rice.” The sheriff’s office said. “A relative’s DNA test confirmed this after countless hours of investigation. Into his family tree and contacts with distant family relatives.”

During the investigation, detectives learned that Rice was born in Portsmouth. Ohio in 1931 and attended Portsmouth High School. They are James C. Rhys and Flossie were able to identify her parents as Truitt. In 1946, she married William Davis in Ohio, according to investigators. He will be 39 years old at the time of death. At one point, Rice became estranged from her family, Arizona authorities said. They don’t know when or how she ended up in Arizona or if she had any children.

A post on DNASolves.com said detectives followed many leads to try to identify Rice. Early in the investigation, detectives sent his fingerprints. To the FBI’s office in Washington. They also looked at missing person reports filed across Arizona. And in the neighboring states of California, Utah and Nevada.

Othrum Inc., which uses the database DNASolves. Aaid it had finally identified “excited” rice.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. Said the investigation is continuing for a possible suspect.

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