Investigators are still hoping someone will come forward with the answers to questions raised by an October suicide at a downtown hotel.
Otherwise, the woman who checked into the hotel as “Mary A. Anderson” may be buried later this month beneath a blank grave marker because authorities could not determine who she was.
She had light auburn hair and perfect teeth. She was 5-foot-8 and sturdily built. She was childless and had undergone breast surgery. Her age is estimated at mid-30s to mid-40s. She wore expensive Estee Lauder cosmetics, had pierced ears and liked velour separates. Her carefully polished nails, lipsticked mouth and neatly plucked brows suggest she took good care of herself.
That much is known.
But many basic questions remain. Who was she? Where did she come from? Why did she take her own life?
“It has become increasingly important to find out who this woman really is, before we lay her to rest. We just don’t like to let go,” said chief investigator Jerry Webster of the King County medical examiner’s office.
“Really, we don’t have a clue where she’s from, or who she is,” Webster said.
Webster keeps a file on the woman, who checked into the Hotel Vintage Park on Oct. 9, registering as Anderson and giving a false New York City phone number.
The file noted all the leads that went nowhere - computer searches, a fingerprint analysis, a sketchy psychological profile, logs of calls to missing-persons detectives, and reports on missing women who sound similar on paper but weren’t a match.
“Mary A. Anderson” scribbled a note.
“I have decided to end my life,” she wrote. “No one is responsible for my death. P.S. I have no relations. You can use my body as you choose.”
She then opened a hotel Bible to the 23rd Psalm, lay down and took a lethal dose of cyanide.
Webster figures she may have worked in a laboratory or for a mine, where cyanide is used for mineral extraction.
“Cyanide poisoning is rare because the substance is strictly controlled,” he said. But checks into agricultural and medical labs and gold mines turned up nothing.
So did checks into the copper intrauterine device she had implanted many years ago. The serial number had worn off.
An unlabeled bottle of prescription pills yielded no clues.
Regional and national searches through missing-persons files came up empty.
“The ritual of her death is probably not too different from how she lived her life,” said Seattle University psychology Professor Steen Halling said. “She is very careful, methodical.
“She goes to great lengths to hide how she dies, but … none of us, no matter what we do, can disappear without a trace.”
“Mary Anderson” may have come close enough.
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