SAN DIEGO — San Diego police have finally identified the victim in a homicide case that had been considered “cold” for nearly 50 years.
Using DNA profiling technology, investigators were able to identify the Jane Doe in a 1973 homicide as Arminda Grangela Rodrigues de Ribeiro. She would have been 29 years old, SDPD Lt. Jud Campbell said.
Ribeiro’s body was discovered around 11:20 a.m. on June 13, 1973. According to Campbell, fisherman found the body of a then-unidentified woman in the San Diego Bay between Laurel Street and the U.S. Coast Guard Station.
Police said she had been dismembered and placed into an orange suitcase, as well as several plastic bags.
For decades following her discovery, the woman had remained unidentified, but Campbell said local investigators continued to devote efforts towards solving the case.
In 2020, police again looked to positively identify the victim, this time though DNA. Her remains were exhumed by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office for their efforts.
With the financial assistance of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, Othram — a private, forensic biotechnology company — was able to develop a DNA profile. The profile led to Ribeiro’s identification, Campbell said.
Investigators learned that Ribeiro was born in Portugal. According to SDPD, her family emigrated to the Ironbound neighborhood in Newark, NJ, which has a large Portuguese community.
Ribeiro was also married and had two children. She still has family living in the Newark area, Campbell added.
At the time of her disappearance, investigators say she worked at a trailer fabrication company in Newark. It is still unknown what connection Ribeiro may have had to San Diego.
Police are seeking assistance in identifying the company Ribeiro worked for in Newark, any potential connections she had to San Diego, or any other information that might help investigators determine what happened to her.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.