Oklahoma’s Unsolved Mysteries: The woman without an identity

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OKLAHOMA -- It's a case that has been a mystery for nearly 35 years. A woman found dead, shot multiple times. The killer tried to get rid of the body by covering it with a powerful chemical, likely hoping it would dissolve the body quickly.

Investigators would like to find the killer, but they can't because they have no idea who the victim is.

"We're still hopeful. We really believe at some point we're going to get a break in this case.," Captain Bob Green, with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office said.

The case dates back to April 1980. The young woman's body was found along the banks of a river just outside of Jones, Oklahoma. She was found by a group of fisherman.

"Well, it was a very violent crime," Green said.

To this day, the victim's true identity is still unknown. Her body was buried at a cemetery in Oklahoma City. Finding out who the woman is would hopefully lead to finding her family, and ultimately, her murderer.

"There's really no way to pursue an investigation as far as working the crime because we have no idea who she is. We have to figure that out first," Green said.

"The positioning of her arms suggested she was drug into the location where we actually located her at," Cathy Foote, a technical investigator with Oklahoma County said.

"She has been murdered, dumped, and covered in lime," Green said.

She was also shot at least three times in the chest.

According to the autopsy report, one of the bullets was still in her chest. When removing it, the medical examiner also found a dime in the wound. The dime, likely in her pocket at the time of the murder, was embedded in her chest by the force of the bullet.

The strangest part of it all is that her body was covered in lime or calcium carbonate. The chemical is sometimes used to decomposing brush and tree stumps. In this case, it did the complete opposite.

"Due to the moisture in the air from the river, it actually helped preserve the body. It almost mummified it," Green said.

In fact, investigators believe her body had been there for a couple of weeks. Typically, within that time, a body would have started to decompose. But in this case, the lime preserved her to the point they could still find wounds from where she was shot, see some of her features, and even clearly find a heart tattoo on her chest.

While investigators followed hundreds of leads, they were never able to identify the woman.

"She's known only at this time as the lime lady," Green said.

Capt. Green believes someone somewhere has to know who she is, has to wonder where she is.

"I have a theory she may have been a foster child, maybe a runaway at some point. That could be one reason why no one has been looking for her," Green said.

He says that theory is just speculation.

"She belonged to somebody. Somebody knew her. She had to have friends, family," Foote said.

Numerous sketches have been released by investigators who have tried to reconstruct her face. The efforts have been done over and over again, trying to find someone who recognizes her. Each release does bring new leads, but so far, no answers.

It's a mystery that investigators say still haunts them.

"Somebody knows something," Green said.

In recent years, "Lime Lady's" DNA has been checked against a database of missing persons from across the country. No match has been found.

She is believed to have been a white female in her early 20's, around 5 feet 7 inches tall.

If you have any information that could help police figure out who she is, please call the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office at 405-713-1017.

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