York & North Yorkshire

DNA profile created on unknown Sutton Bank body

A wax reconstruction of the mystery woman's face
Image caption A wax impression of what the woman might have looked like was made in the 1980s

A full DNA profile has been created of an unidentified woman whose body was found in North Yorkshire in 1981.

As part of a cold case review, the body was exhumed at Malton cemetery in January in order to recover DNA material that might help identify her.

The body was found on a remote country road in Sutton Bank following a tip-off from an anonymous caller.

Police have revealed the caller said he could not reveal his identity "in the interests of national security".

Det Supt Lewis Raw, from North Yorkshire Police, said the DNA profile would now be checked against other people who had contacted police believing that the woman may be a relative or friend.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of the tests.

"Due to the length of time that the body had been buried at the cemetery in Malton, there was a possibility that a full profile might not be obtained."

Mr Raw added: "The DNA profile will now be checked against the people who have come forward to identify any familial link with the deceased.

"However, before any samples are taken from the people who have come forward, research will be conducted around physical similarities between the families and the deceased, including dental records and other physical characteristics."

Mr Raw said the profile would also be checked against the national DNA database and the missing persons' DNA database to check for any potential relatives.

Image caption The woman was buried in an unmarked grave at Malton Cemetery

Police said they still needed to find the anonymous caller who rang Ripon police on 28 August 1981 to report the body.

Mr Raw said: "At the time the mystery caller claimed he could not reveal his identity in the interests of national security.

"Perhaps he is now in a position to come forward and talk to the police."

It is thought the woman may have died up to two years before her body was found.

The police investigation at the time was unable to identify her and did not find a cause of death.

The body was later buried in an unmarked grave in Malton.

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