Return to story
Now that Stafford authorities know whose body was dumped near Interstate 95 in the county, they're trying to figure out what happened to her and why.
Katherine Bryant of Washington was 33 years old in July 2006 when her family reported her missing to the Metropolitan Police Department.
Police announced Thursday that skeletal remains found Aug. 16 in the woods off the northbound off-ramp leading to Courthouse Road were those of Bryant, who was last seen alive in the Washington area.
Sheriff's spokesman Bill Kennedy said DNA testing confirmed the identity of Bryant, whose remains were stumbled upon by a truck driver who had walked into the woods to relieve himself. Sources said the evidence found at the scene had led to a tentative identification that was confirmed by the DNA testing.
Authorities don't know when Bryant's body was dumped in Stafford.
Kennedy said foul play is suspected, but police have not released a cause of death or said if they even know it.
"Due to the ongoing nature of this investigation, no other additional information will be released at this time," Kennedy said.
Sheriff's Capt. Billy Bowler said that although investigators are pleased to identify the victim, it could still take quite some time to unravel the mystery of what happened to her. He said detectives will start by trying to talk to family in Washington and others Bryant was associated with six years ago.
Police hope that they then will be able to answer such questions as what Bryant did for a living, whether she had any connection to Stafford and, most importantly, who is responsible for her death.
Sheriff Charles Jett said the case is receiving his department's full attention. "We will do everything we can to solve this case and bring closure to the victim's family," Jett said.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404