Monday, September 6, 2010

Family Adopts Corpse

Police Sketch
In 1993, John and Naomi Beaty adopted the dead body of a young woman who had been dumped along the road.
While they are curious about who may have killed her, the Beatys are more interested in learning her real name.
Naomi said she and her husband are growing older and would like the body identified.
“She is like a child of ours,” she said. “All we want to do is meet her biological family and let them know Judy had a respectable funeral. There has to be someone who knows who she is.”
Cpl. William Henderson of the Hundred detachment of the West Virginia State Police, said a March 23, 2008 story in the Wheeling (WV) News-Register sparked new leads for authorities to investigate.
“Among other things, we are looking at the possibility she may have been a prostitute from the Pittsburgh (PA) area,” she said.
Henderson is determined to identify the woman.
“I have 15 years before I retire, and I am confident I will find out who she is,” he said.
A passerby found the body on  Feb. 13, 1983, lying face down in the snow along U.S. 250 — one mile north of Littleton, W. Va. — near the Marshall County line. State Medical Examiner James Frost’s held the body in his Morgantown office for 10 years as the investigation grew cold.
During the 10-year investigation, law enforcement authorities and staff members Frost's office developed a protective relationship with the dead woman. They named her “Judy” because an employee said she “looked like a Judy.”
After 10 years Frost determined it was time for the body to buried, but Monongalia County authorities could not accommodate the burial. As a result, the body was returned to Wetzel County.
Somebody Knows Her Name
In response to a newspaper story about Judy, the Beatys, of New Martinsville, decided to adopt the body and bury it in their family plot at Paden Memorial Gardens in Paden City. They arranged for a proper funeral and have continued to care for the grave site.
Sgt. Danny Swiger, a former West Virginia State Police cold case investigator, also has worked the case. He, too, is determined to find the woman’s identity.
“Hopefully, we can get a DNA profile from tissue taken at the autopsy,” he said. “As a last resort, we could exhume the body and try to extract DNA from a bone fragment.”
The profile then would sent to CODIS, the FBI’s national DNA database.
The presence of a cesarean section scar indicates the woman had at least one child, and Swiger hopes DNA could connect the deceased woman with any person to whom she may have given birth.
Swiger said the woman had been dead for two days, but she was dropped off only a few hours before being found. Snow had fallen over the three previous days, but there was no snow on top of the body. 
Police found fresh tire tracks and footprints near the body. Judy was between 35 and 40 years old and had auburn colored hair. She had double-pierced ears, which was unusual in 1983. She wore orange toenail polish, had a scar on one of her index fingers, a cesarean section scar and a full upper denture plate. Her eye color could not be determined because of the way blood had settled in her face as she lay face down in the snow.
At the time of the discovery, a West Virginia State Police trooper said they were looking for a white male in his 40s in connection with the case. He described the man as weighing between 185 and 200 pounds and standing about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. The man was apparently spotted in the area where Judy’s body was found. Police were also looking for a pick-up truck, but there were two different descriptions of its color.
Sgt. Tom Wood of the state police Moundsville detachment is now investigating the case. Look for updates soon.
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