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October 22, 2013

I-70 homicide body yet to be identified

TERRE HAUTE — Investigators are still trying to unravel the identity and cause of death of a woman whose body was found Friday by a mowing crew along Interstate 70 near Casey, Ill.  

The woman was white and appeared to be in her mid-30s, said an Illinois State Police spokesman in Effingham. How long it has been since the woman’s death is still being analyzed, he said.

“There are not many facts there for us to work with at this time,” Clark County Coroner Jeff Pearce. said Monday. “We’re doing our best to build things up and then try and figure out who she is and where she’s from.”

The woman’s death has been ruled a homicide, Pearce said. The manner in which the homicide was committed is not yet being released, he said.

The body was discovered in a grassy ditch along I-70 near Casey about 12:30 p.m. Friday, said an Illinois State Police spokesman in Effingham.

There are no outstanding missing persons cases in the area, Pearce said. Authorities are starting to extend their search of potential missing persons to a larger area, but “you’ve got to have certain facts together to look” in a wider area, he said. “And we just don’t have a lot to go on at this point. But we are working on it.”

No one has come forward with a missing person’s report to match the identity of the woman, the state police spokesman said.

The case is being investigated by the Illinois State Police for Zone 7, which handles cases in roughly the southern third of the state.

Anyone with information that could help identify the woman or otherwise assist in the investigation is encouraged to contact the Illinois State Police at 217-342-7853.

Nationwide, about 4,400 unidentified human remains are discovered each year, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, which provides an online data base of missing and unidentified individuals. Across the U.S., there are as many as 100,000 active missing persons cases on the books at any given time, according to NAMUS.

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