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Police investigating death as homicide

July 30, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The death of a woman whose badly decomposed body was found along U.S. 340 earlier in the week is being investigated as a homicide, West Virginia State Police said Thursday.

Although there were no obvious signs of foul play, the body was so decomposed that it is hard to tell the cause of death, said Sgt. David Forman.

The death will be treated as a homicide unless further evidence dictates otherwise, said police.

The body was found last Sunday afternoon on remote farmland near U.S. 340 and Cave Road south of Charles Town. It appeared to be that of a woman in her 20s, state police said.

Forman could not say whether the woman appeared to be clothed when she was found.

Although police have declined to discuss evidence found at the scene, they said facts gathered in the case indicate the woman may have been from Winchester, Va.

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The body was taken to the state Medical Examiner's office in Morgantown, where doctors are trying to identify the woman using dental records, said Forman. Medical examiners also are using medical records in an attempt to make an identification, he said.

Assistant State Medical Examiner Jack Frost went to the scene where the body was found this week in an attempt to gather more evidence, Forman said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Winchester Police Department are assisting state police in the investigation.

FBI agents brought a police dog to the site to look for additional evidence and used a helicopter to take aerial pictures of the site, said Forman.

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