York & North Yorkshire

'Thai bride' case: DNA tests prompt identity hope

Police artist's impression Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption A police artist created an impression of how the woman may have looked

People who mourned a mystery woman who was buried more than 10 years ago hope new leads in the case will finally provide a name to carve on her grave.

The body, thought by police to be that of a "Thai bride", was found near Pen-y-ghent in the Yorkshire Dales in 2004.

She became known as The Lady of the Hills - the title inscribed on her headstone in Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

After a Thai couple claimed to be her parents, locals expressed hope for "an end to a very sad mystery".

The couple, from Udon Thani in north-east Thailand, said their daughter married a British man in 1991, moved to north-west England and they had not heard from her since 2004.

Results of DNA samples taken from the Thai couple, whose daughter is Lamduan Seekanya, are due to be sent to the UK for comparison.

Villagers held a funeral for the unidentified woman in 2007 and dedicated an annual "in loving memory" service to her each November.

Her grave, in the churchyard, currently reads: "The Lady of the Hills, found 20th Sept 2004. Name not Known, Rest in Peace."

Image caption A local quarry donated a slab of limestone which was used for a headstone for 'The Lady of the Hills'

The Reverend Stephen Dawson said: "We do hope we can replace the plaque with a name if her parents are happy with that and would like to be involved.

"Hopefully by November when we have the next 'in loving memory' service there may be some closure on the case but obviously it's a long-shot at the moment."

Cold-case investigators have said they believe the woman found in the UK was murdered and dumped on the hillside.

Image copyright Family photo/DONLAWAT SUNSUK
Image caption Lamduan Seekanya's family say they have not heard from her since 2004

Sheila Millman, a former parish councillor, said a new plaque with a name "would be an end to a very sad mystery".

"It would be nice to put a name on the grave and put the word out to her family that somebody has cared about her here," she said.

"It's touched so many people's hearts in the village - we always try to make visitors welcome and she was one who came and never went back home, so it was personal."

Image copyright Guzelian
Image caption A funeral for the unknown woman was held at St Oswald's Parish Church on 5 September 2007
Image copyright DONLAWAT SUNSUK/BBC THAI
Image caption Buasa (left) and Joomsri Seekanya have not heard from their daughter since 2004

Forensic tests have suggested the woman was aged between 25 and 35, originally from south-east Asia and may have lived in north Lancashire or south Cumbria.

She was found more than a mile (2km) from the nearest road and was wearing only green jeans, socks and a gold wedding band.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites