12175776473?profile=RESIZE_710xBy Rich Pollack

Since parts of a woman’s body were found in three suitcases floating in the Intracoastal Waterway, Delray Beach police have enlisted the help of nearby law enforcement agencies, residents with surveillance cameras and just about anyone else who might have information as they search for the victim’s identity and her killer.

Yet in a case that is so Florida that it could be the focus of a Carl Hiaasen novel, little information has come to light — at least that police are sharing — to help detectives answer the most essential questions.

Who is the middle-aged woman homicide victim — with brown hair and possibly tattooed eyebrows — whose body was divided into parts and stuffed into suitcases that were pushed into the waterway?

What happened to her that led to her death, and when and where did her apparent murder take place?

How did the three suitcases get in the Intracoastal Waterway and where and, perhaps most intriguing of all, who is responsible for taking her life and disposing of the body in such a manner?

Although much is not known, detectives have a few tidbits of information that could help them get closer to identifying the victim and perhaps her killer.

The floral tank top she was wearing is from the Betzabe brand, which investigators think is a Brazilian company.

Two suitcases were from uncommon brands, with one being a purple Palm Springs Ricardo Beverly Hills bag and the other described as a green-and-black polka-dot Charlie Sport bag. The third was a plain, brown bag.

In addition, detectives working with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s forensic imaging unit created an artist’s rendering of what the woman might have looked like and distributed it to the community.

Delray Beach police’s investigation began shortly after 4 p.m. July 21 when a construction worker discovered the first of the three suitcases just north of the George Bush Boulevard bridge.

Not long afterward, officers received calls of two more suitcases found about two miles to the south, near Casuarina Road and Southeast Seventh Avenue.

Soon officers from local police departments were joining investigators in a search for anything that might be helpful. Highland Beach police, in the department’s relatively new police boat, Boynton Beach’s marine patrol and law enforcement officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission all joined in the search.

By the next morning detectives and crime scene technicians were under the George Bush Boulevard bridge looking for clues, with the help of a police dog. Despite apparent digging, that search turned up empty.

Another dead end, at least at the time of a news conference three days after the suitcases were discovered, was a scouring of missing persons reports.

During that news conference, police asked for the community’s help, with Chief Russ Mager saying no information is too small.

Although it’s unknown where the suitcases entered the water, investigators appear to believe that took place within Delray Beach city limits. One theory is that if suitcases had been tossed in the Intracoastal in Broward County or Boca Raton or Highland Beach, someone would have seen them and called police especially since a body part — which police did not identify — was protruding from one of the bags.

While police teams scoured the area where the suitcases were found for any related relevant information, Delray Beach Detective Sgt. Casey Kelly said the size of that area made the effort “a very daunting task.”

Detectives are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Mike Liberta, who can be reached at 561-243-7874.

 

 

 

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