SAN DIEGO – San Diego police have finally identified the victim in a murder case that has been considered “cold” for nearly 50 years.
Using DNA profiling technology, investigators were able to identify the Jane Doe in a 1973 murder as Arminda Grangela Rodrigues de Ribeiro. She would have been 29 years old, said SDPD Lt. Jud Campbell.
Ribeiro’s body was discovered around 11:20 a.m. on June 13, 1973. According to Campbell, a fisherman found the body of a then-unidentified woman in San Diego Bay between Laurel Street and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Police said she was dismembered and stuffed into an orange suitcase and several plastic bags.
The woman remained unknown for decades after her discovery, but Campbell said local investigators continued to make efforts to solve the case.
In 2020, police tried again to positively identify the victim, this time using DNA. Her remains were exhumed by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office for their efforts.
With financial support from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, Othram – a private forensic biotechnology company – was able to develop a DNA profile. The profile led to Ribeiro’s identification, Campbell said.
Investigators learned that Ribeiro was born in Portugal. According to SDPD, her family immigrated to the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey, where there is a large Portuguese community.
Ribeiro was also married and had two children. She still has family living in the Newark area, Campbell added.
Investigators said she was working at a trailer factory in Newark at the time of her disappearance. It is still unknown what connection Ribeiro had to San Diego.
Police are asking for help identifying the company Ribeiro worked for in Newark, any possible connections she had to San Diego or other information that could help investigators determine what happened to her.
Anyone with information is asked to call Homicide at 619-531-2293 or, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.
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