Cold Case

New Evidence Sheds Light on Decades-Old Cold Case in Davie

A woman was discovered in a canal nearly 45 years ago. Her remains were never identified

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There’s a new push for answers in a decades-old cold case out of Davie. 

Still the biggest mystery to solve is identifying the victim and figuring out what led up to her death. 

“A young female was walking down the canal and she observed what appeared to be a body floating in the water,” said Davie Detective Eddy Velazquez. 

He took us to the canal where the woman was discovered nearly 45 years ago. 

The female victim was never identified. However, according to Davie Police, the Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death was drowning and the circumstances surrounding the case suggested homicide. 

“We get the case. We get the file. We dissect it. We look at everything. We pretty much go from there and start working backwards,” Velazquez said.

A lot has changed since that December day in 1975, including major developments in science and technology. This week, Davie Police released a digital image called a facial approximation of what the woman might have looked like, hoping to revive the efforts to identify her. 

In order to obtain that image and other important descriptors, Davie Police first worked with Dr. Heather Walsh-Haney, a forensic anthropologist from Florida Gulf Coast University. She’s also a consultant with the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The remains were very well preserved such that the skeleton was nearly complete,” Walsh-Haney said.

They exhumed the victim’s remains from where she had been buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

“My job as consultant is to help them get the remains out of the field working with law enforcement, but then also, help them understand how different processes will affect the skeletal remains,” she explained. “And then work with them to read those bones to have a better picture of what this victim looked like in life.”

Walsh-Haney worked closely with the ME’s office and investigators to narrow down the victim’s description. 

They determined she was between 15-27 years old and of European or white ancestry. 

The remains, along with other evidence like what she was wearing, helped experts at LSU develop that carefully created facial approximation, which displays some unique features. 

“She had an unusual smile, unusual dentition, and hopefully some of these descriptors, especially with her teeth, might help spark a discussion with family members or neighbors," Walsh-Haney said.

Davie Police released this list of descriptions in its latest news release: 

  • Gender: Female
  • Race: White
  • Age: 15-27
  • Hair length and color: Brown
  • Height: 5’ 5”
  • Weight: 123 lbs.
  • Eye color: Unknown
  • The victim was wearing blue jeans, a midriff flowered blouse, and open toe platform shoes. She was found wearing a silver ring with a blue center stone and six small diamond-like stones was on her left ring finger a puka necklace. The victim has a gap between her upper and lower front teeth.
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