Police find remains of homicide victims in US capital

Washington Police Chief Peter Newsham, seen here in 2014, said Friday that it might take 'several months' to complete testing on the skeletal remains of three unidentified women found in and near a local apartment complex

Washington (AFP) – Skeletal remains found last month in and near an apartment complex in Washington were those of three women, two of whom had been shot and the third who died of “inflicted trauma,” officials said.

The manner of death pointed to homicide, the city’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr., said at a news conference Friday.

Contractors working in the basement of an apartment building in the southeast quadrant of the US capital came upon the remains of one woman, including a skull and jawbone, on April 25.

Police with dogs then launched a wider search and found the other female remains, co-mingled in a shallow grave, in a nearby wooded area popular as a play site for local children.

Mitchell said the condition of the remains indicated the three had died at least a year ago. He said it was not yet possible to pinpoint their age range, size or ethnicity.

Police Chief Peter Newsham, speaking at the same news conference, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation would conduct DNA testing of the remains, which could take “several months.”

Both men said it was too early to say whether the three deaths were related.

Newsham said there are no suspects. He added that while he knew forensic work at the site was “unsettling” for neighbors, it was not yet complete.

Neither man would specify the exact location of the women’s injuries, but Mitchell may have inadvertently offered a hint when he said he was “not confident that we’ll be able to generate composite sketches” of the victims.

“These reconstructions require a certain level of intactness of the head or the skull,” he said.

Police are offering a $25,000 reward for information in each of the killings.