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.