Woman found deceased in 2005 identified 9 years later

Woman found deceased in 2005 identified 9 years later
Latasha Smith (Source: Columbus Police Dept.)
Latasha Smith (Source: Columbus Police Dept.)
(Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)
(Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Investigators have discovered the identity of a deceased woman nine years after her body was found.

On Dec. 22, 2005 members of the Columbus Police Department were called to an area near the dead end of Quincy Drive in reference to the discovery of a deceased woman.

At that time, the condition of the woman's body prevented officials from positively identifying her. An autopsy was performed and the Georgia State Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide.

The Robbery/Assault Unit initiated an investigation that attempted to identify the victim and her murderer. Interviews were conducted and any available leads were tracked down. Years went by without many positive results.

Investigators continued to work the case for nine years and recently identified the victim as 19-year-old Latasha LaShelle Smith, born Dec. 2, 1986. Smith went missing from Rialto, Calif. on Dec. 1, 2005.

The Columbus Police Robbery/Assault Unit is now asking for anyone that might have any information as to Smith's murder or her activities in Columbus Ga. back in December 2005 to please call Sgt. R. Long at (706) 225-4260 or the Robbery/Assault Unit at (706) 653-3400.

The Columbus Police Department would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the individuals and agencies listed below that have helped them investigate this homicide.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

National Missing and Unidentifed Persons System (NAMUS)

NCMEC Project ALERT Biometric Unit

Midtown Medical Center Radiology Department

United States Secret Service

Georgia Bureau of Investigation

Dr. Steven Swords, DMD  Columbus GA.

Dr. Richard Scanlon, Forensic Odontologist, Pennsylvania

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Muscogee County Coroner's Office

Arizona Department of Public Safety

Rialto California Police Department

California Department of Justice

Georgia Board of Dentistry

Dr. J. Kenneth Burkus, Hughston Clinic, Columbus Ga.

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