Harrison County

Her remains washed up in a Gulfport bayou, but who was she?

Investigators are looking into leads that might help identify a woman whose decomposed remains washed up on a rocky bank of Bayou Bernard on Tuesday.

The Gulfport Police Department did receive one lead related to a vehicle that was parked near the crime scene, but investigators so far don’t believe it’s related to the death investigation, Sgt. Damon McDaniel said.

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office provided Gulfport police with information on the vehicle, which was registered to a Diamondhead man. Hancock deputies attempted to contact the man and discovered he had moved to Gulfport.

“We had some information and some tips, and we passed it on to them,” Hancock Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said. “There was a car that was nearby, and it was registered to someone in Diamondhead who had moved to Gulfport. The car could have just been broke down.”

Grannan said Hancock County doesn’t have any missing person reports that would fit with the description of the woman’s remains. Gulfport police have also not found any matching reports.

Detectives are looking into missing person reports for white women, from 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing about 100 to 120 pounds with a tattoo of a rose stem on the lower right leg, according to a description released by the Harrison County Coroner’s Office.

The body was found caught on some rocks and partially protruding from the water of an inlet at Kremer’s Landing on the west side of the Cowan Road bridge over Bayou Bernard. The area is a popular fishing spot and boat launch.

Two men were fishing when they found the remains and alerted authorities at about 5 p.m., McDaniel said.

One of the men, Gerardo Roman of Gulfport, said the woman’s skull was visible and her pants were pulled down below her waist.

“It was pretty traumatizing,” he said, of making the discovery.

McDaniel wouldn’t comment on that detail but both McDaniel and Roman said the body appeared decomposed.

“The person, or the individual, appears to have been here a little while,” McDaniel said.

As of Wednesday, Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove had obtained no new information about the body, which was sent to the Mississippi Forensics Lab in Jackson for autopsy.

Detectives are still in the preliminary phase of the investigation. They hope forensics or tips from the public will help them identify the woman and may allow them to match the remains to a missing people from the area, McDaniel said.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller

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