Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 45° Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Fashionable Corpse Puzzles Police Body Of Unidentified Woman Found Near Seattle Bridge

Associated Press

She wore a Gold Gucci watch, English-made Burberry overcoat, Dana Buchman burgundy silk blouse and Ruff Hewn skirt with a Ginnie Johnansen silver belt.

All that was missing from the body of the woman with short, dark hair and well-manicured, painted fingernails was shoes - and an identity.

The corpse was starting to decompose when it was found Tuesday by a boater in Lake Union in the shadow of the Aurora Bridge, which carries Washington 99 over the entrance to the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

“You could just see her hand sticking out of the water a little,” said Carl Elzey, a worker at Wilson Marine who saw the body being pulled from the water and taken to a dock where sailboats are moored.

“It was so strange,” said Elzey. “Her tan coat was still buttoned. … I just keep wondering. Who was she? How did she get there? What happened to her?”

The woman had died and been in the water for about a week, but an autopsy failed to establish a cause of death or identity, said Bill McClure, an investigator in the King County medical examiner’s office.

“We don’t know if she was alive or dead when she went into the water,” he said.

There were no visible injuries. The coat, which retails for $400 to $800 depending on style, was still buttoned, so it was unlikely she fell or jumped nearly 175 feet from the bridge deck to the water, McClure said.

Missing person reports filed with area law enforcement agencies have been a dead end.

The woman was 5-foot-7, weighed about 140 pounds, had dark eyes and was probably in her 30s but could have been in her 20s or 40s, McClure said.

The only jewelry she wore was a gold ring with a fluted, dome-type design on the right hand.

‘It’s a suspicious death. That’s all we know at this point,” he said. “You have a healthy female, very well-dressed, found floating in the water. We can’t rule out any possibilities.”

Wilson Marine Employees have seen the bodies of many suicide victims who have jumped from the bridge. Nine leaped to their deaths from the span last year.

“This woman was too well-dressed to have jumped off that bridge,” Elzey said.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.