Coroner: Dismembered head linked to woman’s torso found in November

Posted at 6:39 PM, January 11, 2024

CINCINNATI (Scripps News Cincinnati) — A dismembered head found earlier in January belonged to the torso of a woman found nearby in November, Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco announced Thursday at a press conference.

tire and tree in grassy area

Investigators confirmed that a head found in the woods is linked to a torso found previously. (Scripps News Cincinnati)

Sammarco also said additional items related to body parts were also discovered recently, but she did not specify what.

The torso of a yet-unidentified woman was discovered on Nov. 5; two months later, as Cincinnati police and FBI agents were conducting a search of the surrounding area, officials discovered more remains. Later that day, Sammarco announced that a head had been found, but she didn’t specify if other body parts were also located.

Sammarco said Thursday that the head was found in a steep wooded area blocks away from where the torso was.

“There was no attempt to hide the head,” Sammarco said. “As far as the body, I think the body was visible to the person that actually found the body.”

Police found the woman’s torso in a treeline in North Fairmount in November after a man living on that street saw it, first believing it was a Halloween prop, Sammarco said. Cincinnati Police Captain Stephen Saunders said only the woman’s torso was found, which has made learning her identity difficult.

Saunders also said police were unsure whether she was a local woman, or if she is from elsewhere and was simply left in North Fairmount.

“We’ve looked at all possible connections to the Cincinnati area for possible missing persons that might relate to this person but we have not found any links or associations and we’ve looked in the region as well,” said Saunders.

Sammarco said in November she believed the woman had been killed on either Nov. 3 or 4, and she was likely dead before she was dismembered.

On Thursday, Sammarco increased the potential age of the woman to between her late 20s to early 50s, but they still believe she’s on the lower end of that spectrum. She is African American or mixed-race African American, about 5 feet tall and 120 pounds, Sammarco said.

Police cruiser and police at crime scene

Investigators found additional body parts while conducting a search connected to a dismembered body found in November. (Blake Sheely/Scripps News Cincinnati)

While she has no tattoos, birthmarks or scars, Saunders said there is evidence that, around three years ago, she was pregnant. He said there’s no proof she gave birth, but it’s possible the evidence means she could have a child out there around the same age.

The woman’s remains were in good condition, and her head had short curly hair and did have teeth in it, Sammarco said. She said they’re hopeful they’ll be able to create a digital recreation of the woman’s face soon.

“(The) holidays just happened. If there’s somebody you were expecting to see, you didn’t see. Family member; neighbor; friend,” Sammarco said. “What we know is she was somebody’s daughter. She was very likely somebody’s mother, and she could’ve been somebody’s sibling, cousin, aunt.”

The woman’s cause of death is known, but Sammarco declined to share that information with the public.

Sammarco also put to rest any rumors about a potential serial killer during the press conference.

“The good thing is that we’ve been able to connect or tie the head to the body that was discovered,” Sammarco said. “And put to rest all of those rumors about a serial killer and multiple body parts and multiple bodies around Hamilton County. That is not the case.”

Saunders also said investigators plan to continue searching the area where the body parts were found for additional evidence.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Cincinnati, an E.W. Scripps Company.