For 11 long years, the skeletal remains of a woman found along a river bank have never had a name or a face to help police find her killer.
She's still just the remains, discovered along the King And Queen County side of the Mattaponi River, in June of 2001, near the route 628 bridge.
"Who is she?" "Who killed her?" - questions that still haunt a former detective.
Rachel: "Unfinished work?"
Tom: "Absolutely, a very good way to put it. Unfinished work."
For retired State Police Special Agent Tom Kaschak, this is the one.
"She was about 400 yards, give or take, down river on the left side. Leaning up against the bank, in a little wash area," said Kaschak about the one unsolved case he just can't let go. "That's what I spent a lot of my career doing, bringing closure to people and I just don't want this one forgotten."
She was found fully clothed, wearing black knee-high boots. They were sold only at K-Mart stores. They have a vine and flower pattern on the sides. She was also wearing a distinctive gold bracelet - a filigree design, popular in the 1980's.
"Somebody knows who this woman is and I think her clothing and the jewelry that was found on her is the key to getting her identified," said Kaschak.
Her bones also tell the story. She was sent to the Richmond Medical Examiner's Office and eventually even to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., where an anthropologist was able to find more clues.
"They're really experts at helping to determine when any injuries to the bones occurred," said William Gormley, the assistant chief Medical Examiner for the Richmond district.
Experts determined she was a black female, between 30 and 40 years old, around 5'5" or 5'7" tall with a slim build. Before she was found, she could have been in the river anywhere from one to five years.
Her bones also tell us she was murdered.
State Police have never said how. It's a detail only her killer would know.
"There are some cases that stick with you. Usually it's a case that has some frustration in it," said Gormely.
For 11 years, they've had a body - just no name, no face, no family to bring her home... no way to find her killer.
"Somebody out there's missing a mom or a daughter. Somebody knows who this woman is," said Kaschak.
Since Tom Kaschak retired five years ago, a new special agent was assigned to the case and is actively investigating. If you have any information that could help police identify this woman or solve this murder call 804-553-3408.
Murder on the Mattaponi isn't the only unsolved case in the Commonwealth. There are nearly 200 bodies waiting to be identified and returned to their families.
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