A man searching for cans initially discovered the victim's body while his companion waited in his vehicle. They later brought a friend to the scene and alerted police. At least one other person had noticed a foul odor coming from the dumpster but did not investigate.
The victim had been placed inside a duffel-style suitcase after being wrapped in bedding material and tape. Her feet had been bound. It has been suggested that the bedding could have originated from her residence or a place of employment.
The condition of her body greatly impacted the accuracy of the original reconstruction. GBI officials stated that the rendering may have been inaccurate. Despite this, they received tips of women who bore a resemblance, also noting similarities with the bedding material. One investigator considered the possibility the bedding originated from Korea.
The cause of death could not be determined, although asphyxiation is suspected. Some theorize the pillow found with the remains was used to smother her. However, no blood was found on this item, and no signs of trauma were identified.
Initially, the victim was listed as White or Hispanic. She was possibly a migrant worker who could have arrived in Atlanta or had traveled from Florida for work. She also may have been a victim of human trafficking, being forced to work as an erotic masseuse in establishments frequented by truckers.
In 1991, investigators received a phone call, presumably from Johnny Young, a person of interest in the case since 1988, who confessed to the murder. After he was located in New Jersey, he denied making the phone call. He is now deceased. Young may have been acquainted with a Puerto Rican woman who resembled the initial GBI sketch.
Despite the fact the remains were cremated, additional information regarding her age and race could be established if bone fragments still exist. Evidence in the case has been sent for additional examination as of 2018.
- It is commonly believed she was of East Asian descent, although she could have had white ancestry.
- An initial autopsy report states that she was possibly Hispanic without mentioning any possibility of her being Caucasian.
- In the decades since her disappearance, some have posited that she was Native American.
- Some of her front teeth were crooked, but she had good dental health.
- Not long before she died, she had one of her molars removed, although the socket had healed.
- The alignment of her teeth may be characteristic of Asian and Native American ethnicity.
- Her hair was fairly long and was dark brown to black in color.
- She had recently shaved her legs.
- The remains were unclothed and lacked jewelry.
- The body was concealed in a tan, wheeled suitcase resembling a duffel bag.
- Additionally, trash bags were also used.
- A pale green pillow with a floral design.
- Maroon bedspread with a similar pattern to the pillow.
- A towel with a butterfly design.
- Sheets lacking embroidery.
- She may have been a victim of the Happy Face Killer, Christopher Below, Larry DeWayne Hall or Samuel Little. Some have connected the case to the murder of Annie Tahan.
- Circumstantial information refutes such speculation.
- She may have been an unnamed woman previously considered as a potential identity of Bun Chee Nyhuis