Detectives connect cold case to Washington County, ask for help

They are hoping someone in the community may recognize the victim from a 1982 murder
Florida murder
Florida murder(Nikki Hauser)
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 8:34 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY N.C. (WITN) - Detectives from Florida are in eastern Carolina asking for help in identifying the victim in a 1982 cold case.

The woman was found dead in a canal in River Beach, Florida, but they believe she is from Washington County.

For 38 years it has been a mystery as to who she and who killed her.

They do have a suspect in the county. “There has been a person of interest in the case ever since 1982 but no case was ever made back then,” Chris Cassenari, the lead detective in the case, said.

Cassenari said the suspect was near the area her body was dumped. He had burned his semi-truck only hours before. Witnesses also said they saw him with a woman who looked like Jane Doe.

Initial detectives also found evidence of a long piece of hair inside the semi-truck, but they weren’t able to DNA test it at the time. But now, with modern technology, they are now trying to match the DNA from the piece of hair found to the victim’s hair.

The new depiction of Jane Doe and the detectives’ partnership with Washington County Sheriff’s Office could also propel the case.

“There’s a family that’s missing a loved one. At least it would bring them some type of closure,” said Johnny Barnes, the Sheriff in Washington County.

The detectives were in the area this past weekend to interview the suspect. Though he denies knowing the victim, Cassenari says he hopes any help from people who can identify the picture of the woman can help.

They say an associate of the suspect from the area may have recognized the woman in a composite photo.

If you recognize the photo or have additional information about this case, detectives ask that you contact Chris Cassenari with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office at 772-783-5671.

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