Detectives seek help identifying woman’s remains found near Lake Tapps; rings could provide clues

Detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying human remains that were discovered near Lake Tapps in 2019, and they are hoping someone might recognize the rings she wore on her fingers.

According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD), on Aug. 28, 2019, an excavator clearing debris and garbage on a property near Lake Tapps noticed a blue yard waste bin that was screwed shut. They made the shocking discovery a day after opening it and dumping out the contents.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department

"They opened it up with the excavator, and they dumped out the contents," said Darren Moss, Spokesperson for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. "There was a lot of water in there, and they have to let everything dry before they can take it to the dump. When they came back the next day, he looked and saw a blanket that had duct tape around it on one end. It appeared to be in the shape of a body." 

When he shook it, bones and other debris fell out. He immediately called 911, and the PCSD initiated a homicide investigation.

"It was just really amazing he took the time to even check and just had the feeling something wasn’t right. Because, if he just went about, ‘I have to get this done’, and doesn’t care to pay attention, then we don’t find this person," said Moss.

Detectives have not been able to identify her, and are still waiting for DNA evidence to be analyzed.

A forensic anthropologist concluded that the remains belonged to a woman between the ages of 24 to 44-years-old. Her height was also determined to be between 5’1" and 5’7". 

Other than the rings on her fingers, detectives believe the woman wore a set of dentures – which is unusual for someone in that age range.

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Pierce County Sheriff's Department

Since the woman’s remains were found wrapped in duct tape-covered blanket inside a bin, investigators believe this was a homicide.

Detectives are asking the public to look at the rings. They appear to be valuable and could possibly be family heirlooms. 

Anyone who recognizes the rings, or believes they know the identity of the woman, are asked to call the PCSD. For those who would like to remain anonymous, authorities say the best way to do so is to submit a tip to Crime Stoppers.


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This is a developing story.