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UNIDENTIFIED

Unknown woman stabbed to death

Posted on May 24, 2021

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An Elle brand watch found with a young woman's remains in rural Sampson County has lent its name to the 17- to 24-year-old in the absence of identification.

Contributed photo

An Elle brand watch found with a young woman's remains in rural Sampson County has lent its name to the 17- to 24-year-old in the absence of identification.

This forensic image shows what an unknown Hispanic woman found stabbed to death in Sampson County in 1999 may have looked like.

Contributed photo

This forensic image shows what an unknown Hispanic woman found stabbed to death in Sampson County in 1999 may have looked like.

An Elle brand watch found with a young woman's remains in rural Sampson County has lent its name to the 17- to 24-year-old in the absence of identification.

Contributed photo

An Elle brand watch found with a young woman's remains in rural Sampson County has lent its name to the 17- to 24-year-old in the absence of identification.

This forensic image shows what an unknown Hispanic woman found stabbed to death in Sampson County in 1999 may have looked like.

Contributed photo

This forensic image shows what an unknown Hispanic woman found stabbed to death in Sampson County in 1999 may have looked like.

This forensic image shows what an unknown Hispanic woman found stabbed to death in Sampson County in 1999 may have looked like.
An Elle brand watch found with a young woman's remains in rural Sampson County has lent its name to the 17- to 24-year-old in the absence of identification.

Unidentified is a weekly series examining the more than 120 cases of unidentified human remains discovered in North Carolina. Reporter Lindell J. Kay produces each installment for The Enterprise of Spring Hope and other Restoration NewsMedia newspapers.

Click the hyperlinked text below to read previous installments:

 Dozens of bodies found across NC remain mysteries

 'Baby John Nash' killing remains unsolved

 Drowning victim remains unknown

 Man who stepped in front of train still unknown 

 Body dumped on interstate remains mystery 

 Few clues found in skeleton case 

Tattoo may hold key clue in unsolved homicide 

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

NEWTON GROVE — Someone stabbed her in the neck and left her to die alone outside a migrant labor camp two decades ago.

When discovered in the Sampson County woods on July 20, 1999, the Hispanic woman had been dead anywhere from three weeks to two months.

An Elle brand watch found with her body has lent its name to the 17- to 24-year-old in the absence of identification.

Elle may have been a prostitute or a victim of human trafficking because of her attire and proximity to a labor camp where prostitution occurred on a regular basis, according to information from the Doe Network, a volunteer-run international clearinghouse for unidentified and missing persons.

Washed ashore, unearthed in shallow graves, stumbled upon in the woods, discovered in abandoned houses, killed on busy roads or located in rivers, ponds and along railroad tracks, more than 120 bodies remain unidentified in North Carolina. This is one of their stories.

Elle’s body lay about 100 yards from the Inez Labor Camp on Easy Street in the Timothy community near Newton Grove. Her clothing included a dark blue or black tank top with spaghetti straps over a dark blue lace padded bra and green Calvin Klein jeans over lavender panties with lace borders.

Elle stood 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighed about 110 pounds. While her eye color remains unknown, she had long, red hair and blue-painted fingernails.

Fingerprints aren’t possible due to advanced decomposition, but a dental chart and DNA profile are available for comparison. Her teeth were well cared for and had no fillings, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Authorities have excluded the following statewide missing women as a possible match to Elle:

• Elizabeth Pratt of Lexington, missing since 1980.

• Donna Barnhill of Lexington, missing since 1981.

• Elizabeth Sykora of Creedmoor, missing since 1983.

• Sandra Ross of Apex, missing since 1984.

• Cynthia Perry of Raleigh, missing since 1985.

Authorities have excluded the following nationwide missing women as a possible match to Elle:

• Patricia Schmidt of Virginia, missing since 1985.

• Tiffany Sessions of Florida, missing since 1989.

• Laura Thompson of Pennsylvania, missing since 1993.

• Christina Burnett-Pitts of Missouri, missing since 1998.

• Juanita Nelson of California, missing since 1998.

• Suzanne Lyall of New York, missing since 1998.

• Shannon Arif of Tennessee, missing since 1998.

• Brooke Henson of South Carolina, missing since 1999.

• Cory Rubio of Louisiana, missing since 1999.

• Danielle Zacot of Florida, missing since 1999.

Elle is listed in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System under the number 6183. Anyone with information about Elle can call the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-592-4141; the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation at 910-486-1262; or Team Cold Case at 252-406-6736. A monetary reward is available.

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