Police in Florida have identified a woman whose body was found in a wardrobe trunk 53 years ago, according to the New York Post.
The remains of a woman with traces of violent death were found on October 31, 1969 in a forest near the city of St. Petersburg, the body was laid in a wardrobe trunk.
Once discovered, police were unable to identify the victim, making the case one of the oldest in a string of unsolved murders in the city. Over the past 50 years, detectives have tried several times to identify the murdered by samples of teeth and bones, but to no avail. An extended DNA analysis was able to help in solving the case, which showed that the mother of five children, Sylvia Atherton, who was 41 years old at the time of her death, was killed.
According to police, Atherton’s husband died in 1999 in Las Vegas, and she herself has never been reported missing. According to St. Petersburg Police Assistant Chief Mikhail Kovachev, in 1969, two minors witnessed two men throwing a trunk in the woods. As Kovachev noted, the trunk in which the victim’s body was found belonged to the Atherton family, while there was no connection between her and the city where she was found. One of the victim’s daughters, named Sillen Gates, said she was shocked when the police informed her of the results of the investigation. “We had no idea what happened to her. It’s a relief, a sad relief,” she said.
According to Gates, who was nine at the time of her mother’s death, a few years before her death, Atherton left Arizona for Chicago with her husband, son and two daughters. Gates, in turn, stayed with her father and 11-year-old brother.
The police are looking for the daughters of the woman she went to Chicago with because they may have information about their mother’s death.