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Police identify body found in Arizona desert over 50 years ago

The body of a woman was found in 1971 two miles east of U.S. Highway 93. Recent DNA testing has finally identified the woman's remains.

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. — DNA testing has recently identified the remains of a woman whose body was discovered in the Arizona desert over 50 years ago. 

The Mohave County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday it had finally managed to identify a homicide victim who had gone nameless for decades after her body was discovered in January 1971.

The woman's body had been put into a canvas sack that was found about two miles east of U.S. Highway 93 in a desert area.

In 2021, the Sheriff's Office began seeking assistance to help identify the deceased woman. After obtaining enough funding, investigators conducted forensic genealogical testing and traced the woman's family tree.

The testing has identified the woman as Colleen Audrey Rice of Portsmouth, Ohio. MCSO said Rice, who would have been 39 at the time her body was found, had been estranged from her family and it's unknown how she ended up in Arizona. 

MCSO is still investigating the suspect responsible for Rice's death.

Anyone with information about Rice is encouraged to call MCSO at 928-753-0753 ext. 4408. 

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