Genealogists have helped Arizona authorities identify a woman whose body was found dismembered and stuffed in a sack in the desert in January 1971.
Colleen Audrey Rice, 39, from Ohio, has now been identified as the victim. She was discovered on January 23rd, 1971, 30 miles southeast of Kingman, down Hackberry Road east of U.S. 93. Colleen was first found by hunters over fifty years ago, but unfortunately, her body was too decomposed at the time of discovery to be identified visually.
Rice was described as 5’4″, 125-140 lbs, with curly dark brown hair with some grey. She was wearing a multicoloured blouse, black cardigan, burnt orange pants, black leather ankle boots, and no jewellery. According to National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, due to a scar discovered on Rice’s abdomen, she was believed to have given birth three times, including one C-section. Despite collecting as much information as possible, currently little is known about Rice’s life or death.
In 2022, the Mohave County cold case investigators partnered with Othram Inc, a Texas-based forensics lab, to see if advanced DNA testing could help identify Rice. The sheriff’s office provided $1,000, and Othram crowdfunded the remaining $6,500. A DNA profile was established, and genealogists created Rice’s family tree, leading to a relative who underwent a DNA test and confirmed Rice’s identity.
In the hope to achieve justice for Colleen, the police are asking for help. The sheriff’s office news release said:
The investigation is ongoing into the suspect and/or suspects responsible for her death. The MCSO continues to seek the public’s assistance with providing any information they may have on the later years of the victim’s life.
By contacting authorities with further information, it may generate new potential leads. In turn, this will increase the chances of uncovering why this grisly act was committed and ultimately, bring the perpetrators to justice. It also helps to create a safer community by potentially preventing future crimes. Anyone with information about Colleen Rice’s life or death is asked to contact the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office at 928-753-0753 ext. 4408 or toll-free at 1-800-522-4312 (reference DR# 71-0383).
- Colleen Audrey Rice: Fox News