On 05-24-1975, the body of a partially clad woman was discovered in a drainage ditch off of Cotton Hall Road in Yemassee. The findings of forensic autopsy revealed the victim was strangled to death in a different location within 24 hours of the discovery of her body on Cotton Hall Road. Sexual activity close to the time of her death was also established. The cause of death tends to lean toward a personal motive and it is believed the suspect was either a boyfriend or a husband. She was clad only in panties with no jewelry or other personal affects, making it difficult to determine her identity.
Investigators saturated the media and local area for clues to her identity, but were unsuccessful. Fingerprints of the victim yielded no match statewide and nationally. Based on her appearance, it was believed she was from Hispanic decent and may have been visiting the United States. Federal authorities and international media outlets have been involved to assist in identifying the victim. Bio-geographical DNA methods were utilized to determine her ancestry to better focus efforts in her identification. It was reported she had similar DNA sequences to those in persons from the Caribbean and South America. This information, her ethnic appearance and the “Leonisa” brand panties only manufactured at the time in Columbia, South America were helpful, but still has not established her identity.
If and when she is identified, it should put quick focus on a suspect. It is apparent the suspect ensured her identity would not be easy to establish.