Efforts underway to ensure ‘Lime Lady’ from 40-year-old cold case is buried with Army honors

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JONES, Okla. (KFOR)  – Nearly 40 years after a woman’s body was discovered along the banks of the Canadian River, investigators say they are working to bury her with honors.

On April 18, 1980, two fishermen found the body of a young girl, covered in a lime powdery mixture along the banks of the Canadian River, near Jones.

But rather than decompose her body, the moisture of the river caused the lime to preserve the girl’s body. That gave investigators a clear view of a heart tattoo on the young woman’s chest, who they believe had been murdered 10 days earlier.

They also found three bullet holes, as well as a dime in the woman’s body. Investigators believe it was in the woman’s pocket when a bullet lodged it into her chest.

Her face was nearly perfectly preserved as well, leading to a series of sketches over the years, but her identity remained a mystery – until a phone call in December of 2019.

Lime lady sketch

“She said, ‘Well, your Christmas gift for this year is a positive ID of your victim,'” said Capt. Bob Green, an investigator with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Researchers created a DNA profile of the victim and sent the profile to a genealogical research team in hopes of identifying the woman.

After testing a minuscule amount of DNA, the ‘Lime Lady’ was identified as 20-year-old Tamara Lee Tigard.

Tamara Lee Tigard
Tamara Lee Tigard

Tigard went for a walk in March of 1980 near her home in Las Vegas and simply vanished.

Four weeks later, she was found in Oklahoma with her arms placed above her head, as if she’d been dragged.

“People need to understand how awful this was,” Green said.

For the past four decades, Tigard has been buried in an unmarked grave at an Oklahoma City cemetery.

Now, investigators are working to properly bury her.

Officials with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office say they are burying Tigard with U.S. Army honors.

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