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Approx. 12 – 23 YOA
Race: Black/African American
Weight: 100 to 120, Estimated
Height: 5’2″ – 5’4″, Estimated
Found in Mississippi River
Clinton County, IA
NamUs UP # 2622
Body Discovered April 11, 1975
Probable Year of Death: 1975
On Friday, April 11, 1975, a commercial fisherman from Sabula discovered a woman’s nude body in the Mississippi River near a mud bar north of Clinton, Iowa, about a half mile south of the Clinton County and Jackson County line. Officials believed the young woman — an African American — to be in her early 20s though stated she may have been as young as 12.
She had been killed by a gunshot wound to the head, just behind her right ear. The badly decomposed body made it difficult to determine exact time of death, though officials estimated it as sometime in early 1975.
An autopsy indicated the victim was approximately 10 weeks pregnant at the time of death.
Forty-year-old Raymond Woodhurst and his 16-year-old son, Lloyd, found the woman’s body after a neighbor told them earlier that week that he’d seen an animal or body in the river.
Woodhurst and his son went out in their boat the following Friday, and once they discovered the woman’s body went immediately back to shore to telephone police.
The woman was described as being between 5’2″ and 5’4″, weighing 100 to 120 pounds and being of average build with black hair.
Police followed up on several leads, checking reports of missing women from East Dubuque, Ill, all the way to North Carolina, but all led to dead ends.
Fingerprints and dental charts were made, but those, too, proved unsuccessful in determining the woman’s identity or identifying any suspects that may have been involved in her murder.
The woman had no tattoos on her body, and DNA was not yet advanced to the point where strands of hair could have been taken and submitted for testing. Facts about the woman’s case were entered into the National Crime Information Computer System with hopes of obtaining a possible match with a missing-person report, but that, too, has thus far failed to provide any answers.
More than 26 years after the body’s discovery, Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln told the Quad-City Times that her death still haunts investigators, but that they just never had enough clues to help pinpoint who she was or why she was killed.
“Some of the older deputies who were around then said maybe somebody out of Chicago or Milwaukee had a pregnant girlfriend and got rid of her. We might never know,” Lincoln said in the August 6, 2001 Times article.
The decedent was buried in an unmarked grave in a Clinton cemetery. She remains Iowa’s oldest unidentified body.
If you have any information about this unidentified woman please contact the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office at 563-242-9211.