'Tiger Lady' Murder Case Gets Second Life

Police release new sketches of woman found by New Jersey interstate
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2014 3:15 PM CST
Cops Breathe New Life Into 'Tiger Lady' Cold Case
A new police rendering of "Tiger Lady."   (New Jersey State Police)

Police are hoping that new sketches of a woman known only as "Tiger Lady" will help solve a cold case that has gone unsolved for 23 years, the Star-Ledger reports. The woman's partly decomposed body was discovered beside I-80 in Knowlton Township, NJ, on Oct. 26, 1991, stripped of clothes and jewelry and with a tattoo of a Bengal tiger on her left calf. Police believed that the crudely drawn, 7-inch tattoo—which was likely inked by an amateur, UPI reports—would help identify the victim, believed to be aged 17 to 19. But the teen's decomposition made things harder by hiding her face and disguising how she died. So police sent out images of the tattoo along with sketches of her face based on computerized skull scans, the New York Times reported at the time. Yet it never led to a suspect, nor was the woman ever identified.

Now police are hoping better-quality sketches and the power of Facebook will lead to a break in the case: "We can reach a half million people or more through social media," say troopers in a post on the social media site. "Please like and share this post. Someone knows something." Perhaps "Tiger Lady" was murdered by serial killer Joel Rifkin, who would ultimately be found guilty of killing nine women and was suspected in at least 17 homicides, police said back in 1993. Either way, her death was one of three unsolved killings of females in Warren County from 1982 to 1997, and one of several murders involving bodies dumped by an interstate. "The interstates system is a continuous, highly anonymous corridor that gives a killer a convenient avenue to get a body out of the area where he killed it," a police lieutenant said at the time. (Read about a man accused of killing his wife in the Rocky Mountains on their anniversary.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.