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Female's identity remains unknown

August 25, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Authorities have received several telephone calls about the discovery Sunday of a female's dismembered remains along Back Creek, but her identity remains unknown, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said Thursday.

"They're running down some leads," said Games-Neely, noting West Virginia State Police and her office have been contacted about the case.

Investigators also have been contacted about missing person cases and Games-Neely said officials now are expected to try to make a positive identification through fingerprints, dental records or a possible forensic artist rendering.

Games-Neely has not received a preliminary report from the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston, W.Va., about the autopsy completed Tuesday.

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Authorities have determined the female's cause of death to be stabbing. A West Virginia Division of Natural Resources official reportedly said the body was dismembered and found in a suitcase and a garbage bag.

West Virginia State Police announced Monday the remains were found the night before along the creek by two people fishing. Since then, about a 500-yard area in and along Back Creek has been searched south of a small bridge near the intersection of Buck Hill Road and Tuscarora Pike. The area is east of the small community of Shanghai, W.Va., about 12 miles west of Martinsburg.

The female's death is being investigated as a homicide.

Anyone with information about the case may call West Virginia State Police in Martinsburg at 304-267-0001.

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