The Murder of Colleen Audrey Rice

On January 23, 1971, a woman was found in a cotton sack, on the side of a dirt road near US Highway 93 on Hackberry Road. The woman could not be identified, and her murder went cold. On January 23, 2023, forensics identified the woman as Colleen Audrey Rice. Police are still investigating her murder.

On January 23, 1971, hunters came across a cotton sack which was tied around the top. Upon opening the sack, they found the dismember remains of a woman. The hunters contacted authorities, who launched an investigation.

According to a news article from January 26, 1971, the medical examiner determined the woman had been killed between 2 weeks and a month prior to her discovery. They estimated the woman was between 35 and 40 years old, weighed 125-140 lbs., and had curly brown hair. She was wearing a multi-color blouse, with a black cardigan, orange pants, with black ankle boots.

Despite the police’s efforts, the woman was never identified, and the case grew cold. In October 2021, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, the Special Investigations Unit brought the case back to the public’s attention. They also contacted the Museum of Northern Arizona, who made a sketch of the victim based on her skeleton features. In 2022, the Mohave County Cold Case Investigation Unit partnered with Othram Inc. to identify the victim. In late 2022, the funds were raised to conduct the needed Forensic Genetic Genealogy.

On January 23, 2023, forensics identified the woman as Colleen Audrey Rice. Colleen was born on March 17, 19291, to James Rice and Flossie Truitt. Colleen grew up in Portsmouth, Ohio and attended Portsmouth High School. In 1946 she married William Davis. At some point, she became estranged with her family. Investigators could not determine how Colleen wound up in Arizona.

The MCSO is investigating her murder. Anyone who has information regarding Colleen Audrey Rice, or the incident, to contact the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office SIU at 928-753-0753 ext. 4408 or call the toll-free number at 1-800-522-4312.

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