Mystery of unidentified body remains unsolved

The Northern Echo: SITE SEARCH: Police carrying out a search at the spot where the woman's body was discovered on August 28, 1981, it was believed to have been in undergrowth for about a year, hidden in a tall patch of vegetation, near the top of Sutton Bank SITE SEARCH: Police carrying out a search at the spot where the woman's body was discovered on August 28, 1981, it was believed to have been in undergrowth for about a year, hidden in a tall patch of vegetation, near the top of Sutton Bank

THE DNA profile taken from the skeleton of a woman found at a North Yorkshire beauty spot, has been sent to a national database to try and identify her.

It is a year since the body of a woman found in undergrowth near Sutton Bank, was exhumed in the hope it would provide more clues.

But investigators have now admitted they are no nearer to identifying her.

Her remains were discovered in undergrowth beside a quiet road between the villages of Scawton and Rievaulx near Helmsley more than 30 years ago, in 1981.

Police were led to the body following an anonymous tip-off, but the caller has never come forward or been identified.

One line of inquiry – that she was a runaway inmate from Askham Grange open prison – got nowhere when the prisoner in question proved she was alive and well. She sent investigating officers two thumb prints and a signature from Ireland.

The case was reopened over a year ago, as part of the force’s cold case review of unidentified bodies.

The Northern Echo: MYSTERY REMAINS: A 30-year-old wax reconstruction of the head of the woman found at Sutton Bank

North Yorkshire police were given permission to exhume her remains from a cemetery in Malton in January 2011, in order to extract DNA that could lead to her identification.

As a result of tests, a full DNA profile was created and members of five families, who genetically could have been related to the woman, provided their DNA.

But last month the police announced that none of them were a match.

A post-mortem examination found she may have lain in the undergrowth for up to two years.

She was about 5ft 2in tall, aged between 35 and 40 and had short, dark hair. Although the case is officially recorded as an unexplained incident, officers have said they believe the woman was murdered.

The investigation has now, again, come to a standstill and police have added the DNA profile of the Sutton Bank body to the national database, in the hope that one day she will be identified.

Her body has now been reburied at a re-interment ceremony at Malton Cemetery.

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