On May 24, 1995, the deceased body of an unidentified woman — clad only in Leonisa brand panties — was discovered in a roadside drainage ditch off of Cotton Hall Road in Yemassee. There were no forms of identification, to include tattoos or jewelry, found..
Forensic autopsy revealed that the victim was strangled to death in a different location within a day or so of her discovery on Cotton Hall Road.
In addition, pathologists found evidence of sexual activity near the time of her death. During autopsy, pathologists noted that at some point in the woman’s life she had a hysterectomy and thyroid surgery.
In the investigation, federal law enforcement authorities and local and international media were accessed to assist in identifying the woman, but were unsuccessful.
Fingerprints and the DNA profile of the victim were entered into state and national databases, but have yet to yield her identity.
Through her physical appearance and the Leonisa brand panties she was found wearing — which were only manufactured in Columbia, South America at the time of her death — it was believed she was of Hispanic descent.
In 2007, DNA Print Genomics used bio-geographical DNA methods to better determine her ancestry to help focus efforts in her identification. It was reported she had similar DNA sequences to those in persons from the Caribbean and South America.
This information, her ethnic appearance were helpful, but still had not established her identity.
In 2020, Parabon Nanolabs conducted an ancestry DNA analysis and through genealogy research it is now believed that the unidentified woman may have been from Puerto Rico.
No subjects have been identified in her murder. Research on her identify continues.