Testing narrows where unidentified murdered woman may have lived

3:32 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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The Smithsonian Institution has already made progress in discovering where an unidentified woman who was killed in Knoxville may have lived.

The woman was shot to death in 1987.  She was never identified.

Last month, the Knox County Sheriff's Office announced that they were working with the Smithsonian on scientific testing that could help determine where the woman came from.  They are also doing testing on an  unidentified man who was also killed in Knox County.

The tests show that the woman likely spent significant time in the central-southeastern United States.  Scientists tested a tooth sample, analyzing "stable carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen values in dentin and enamel which represent isotope values incorporated during adolescence."  Basically, elements from the environment in which you live can be found in your teeth.

That information shows that the woman may have been from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, or Florida. The Knox County Sheriff's Office plans to send pictures of the murdered woman to the local police and media in those areas, to see if anyone recognizes her.

Knox County says several strong leads have been generated by the testing, and they are pursuing them now. 

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