The graphite sketch is of a woman with light eyes and perhaps sandy hair. Below it is almost all that police know of her: her legs were found in 1996, her skull just last year.
The sketch appeared on Dec. 21 on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System online database. It is of one of several remaining unidentified victims of a suspected serial killer or killers who the police say dotted the beaches of Long Island with bodies – some dismembered and in sacks – over the past decades.
The scant details about the woman – neither her height nor weight are known, the listing says, and her age is set anywhere between 18 and 50 years old – were first discovered in the database by a reporter for Eyewitness News Long Island. On Saturday afternoon, the Suffolk County police released the image and information to the news media, seeking the public’s help in identifying the victim.
The victim is one of at least 10 whose bodies were found mostly off Ocean Parkway, though some of the victims’ body parts were found elsewhere. The unidentified woman’s legs, for example, were found 15 years before her skull, on Blue Point Beach on Fire Island. No one has been charged in the murders, though the police believe the crimes may be related, perpetrated by a serial killer acting alone or with others.
The police would not say why the image was posted on the Web site, which is used by multiple law enforcement branches and others, like coroners, but which also can be publicly searched. But it may have been posted without the intention of public dissemination, according to a police official who did not wish to be named, citing the fact that the investigation is continuing.
“That would be up to investigators why oftentimes they keep something” back, a person familiar with the investigation said. “They might have leads, they don’t want to compromise those leads; there can be a variety of reasons they don’t release it to the public.”
Though the woman appears to have light colored hair in the composite sketch, the report on the missing persons Web site says her hair color was unknown, or she was “completely bald.” A spokeswoman for the Suffolk County Police Department would not comment on what information investigators drew on to produce the dirty blond portrait, nor how the woman was killed, because the investigation is still under way.
According to the online posting, there are no available dental records and no finger prints: the report states that her “hands were not recovered.” The sole unique physical details seem to be several scars on her right leg, and a surgical scar with suture marks on her left ankle, according to the online report.
The online post also noted that she wore red nail polish on all ten of her toes.