Arizona cold case victim from 1971 identified with forensic genealogy

Jan 25, 2023, 4:25 AM
Authorities provided a high school photo of Colleen Audrey Rice, along with an artist's age renditi...
Authorities provided a high school photo of Colleen Audrey Rice, along with an artist's age rendition sketch.(Mohave County Sheriff's Office Special investigation Unit Photo)
(Mohave County Sheriff's Office Special investigation Unit Photo)

PHOENIX — A woman from a decadeslong cold case in Arizona has finally been identified, Mohave County authorities said Tuesday.

Colleen Audrey Rice was identified through forensic genetic genealogy and with assistance from Othram Inc., the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigation Unit said in a press release.

Rice was found about 26 miles east of Kingman on Jan. 23, 1971, in a canvas sack that had been tied with a white cotton rope in a desert area near a dirt road, the release said.

Rice was estimated to be between 35-40 years old, 5-foot-4, approximately 125-140 pounds and with curly brown hair. She was last wearing a size 14 multi-colored long-sleeve blouse, a black long-sleeve cardigan sweater and burnt-orange pants in size 12.

Testing began in late 2022, and she was identified on Monday, 52 years after she was found. The SIU searched through her family tree and contacted distant family relatives, confirming it was Rice after DNA testing of a relative.

Investigators said Rice was estranged from her family and that little is known about how she came to be in Arizona or if she had children. She was born on March 17, 1931 in Porstmouth, Ohio, to James C. Rice and Flossie Truitt. Rice also married William Davis in 1946 in Ohio.

An investigation is ongoing into the suspect(s) responsible for her death.

Anyone with information regarding Rice or the incident is asked to call the Mohave Country Sheriff’s Office SIU at 928-753-0753 ext. 4408 or the toll free number at 1-800-522-43122 and reference DR#71-0383.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Tasler)...

Officer shot in ‘ambush’ in south Phoenix, 1 person in custody

An officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being shot Friday morning by a suspect.
12 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park)...

Phoenix’s Pueblo Grande Museum changing name to reflect Indigenous heritage

The Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park in Phoenix is changing its name to reflect the site's Indigenous history.
12 hours ago
Courtesy Maricopa County....

New $61 million Southeast Justice Center opens in Mesa

Members of the Board of Supervisors, Justice Courts and Superior Court celebrated the opening of the Southeast Justice Center Wednesday.
12 hours ago
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)...

2 arrested in Mexico on charges of human smuggling in Arizona

Two people are facing human smuggling charges in Arizona after being arrested in Mexico, authorities announced Wednesday.
12 hours ago
(Photo provided by Jurassic World Live Tour)...

Jurassic World Live Tour to rumble into Phoenix this summer

The Jurassic World Live Tour is bringing six shows to Phoenix's Footprint Center this summer, between July 28-30.
12 hours ago
(Arizona Wine Growers Association Photo)...

Arizona wine festival coming to Steele Indian School Park this weekend

Award-winning wineries, musical acts, food trucks and artisans will congregate at Steel Indian School Park in Phoenix on Saturday.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Arizona cold case victim from 1971 identified with forensic genealogy