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3 separate suitcases found floating in Florida waterway contained remains of one woman

The unidentified woman was found in the suitcases Friday in the Intracoastal Waterway, according to the Delray Beach Police Department.
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Police in South Florida on Monday asked for the public’s help identifying a woman whose remains were found floating in a waterway in three separate suitcases last week.

The Delray Beach Police Department held a press conference to generate clues as to whose body parts were found Friday in the Intracoastal Waterway near Palm Trail.

Delray Beach is about 30 miles north of Fort Lauderdale.

Delray Beach Police Chief Russ Mager said Monday a suitcase was initially discovered in the waterway “with what was believed to be the human remains hanging outside the suitcase.”

Delray Beach Police Chief Russ Mager provides information about the investigation in Delray Beach, Fla., on July 24, 2023.
Delray Beach Police Chief Russ Mager provides information about the investigation in Delray Beach, Fla., on July 24, 2023.Delray Beach Police Dept via Facebook

During the media briefing, Mager said within a few hours, police also received reports of two other suitcases that were floating south of the location where the first suitcase with human remains was found.

“We were able to determine that the remains within this suitcase, the two suitcases, were actually human remains as well. And all three suitcases were deemed to be the same person, the same victim as the original suitcase that was found,” Mager said.

Sgt. Casey Kelly, who also spoke at the news conference, said the woman whose remains were found is believed to be Hispanic or white. She is between 35 and 55 years old and about 5’4.

The woman may have had tattooed eyebrows, and may have been placed in the waterway as early as July 17 or as late as Thursday, Kelly said.

He said investigators are focusing on an area near the waterway that stretches about 1 mile.

“We’re asking for the public’s help with reviewing video surveillance cameras during that timeframe,” he said. “We ask that you specifically look for unusual vehicles or people and certainly anyone carrying or moving luggage.”

Kelly continued, “The stretch of waterway is very large, and that’s part of why we’re meeting today and asking for the public’s help. … But it’s a very daunting task. So we’re asking for the public to do some of that, that legwork for us.”

Police have said in a statement that the female victim wore a floral tank top with a black undershirt and black mid-thigh shorts. The floral tank top, investigators said Monday, may have been made in Brazil.

On Monday, when Kelly was asked by a reporter if a violent suspect may be at large and if the public should be warned, he said investigators “believe it to be an isolated incident.”

The victim's remains were taken to the local medical examiner's office for testing, Kelly said.