Police this morning could not positively identify a woman whose body was found Friday in East Lawrence but said they suspect the victim is a 25-year-old Lawrence woman who was last seen Halloween night.
Officials said there are "strong indications" that the body is that of Tamara C. Baker, who was reported missing Nov. 6 by a man who said she had disappeared a week earlier.
Based on information from an autopsy performed Tuesday, police classified the death as a homicide. Authorities today said Dr. Carol Moddrell, Douglas County coroner, and Dr. Kris Sperry, a pathologist from Atlanta, Ga., discovered injuries to the body that led investigators to believe the woman was murdered.
Police refused to release the cause of death, saying that divulging the information now would not be in the "best interests of the investigation."
CHRIS MULVENON, police spokesman, was reluctant to say Baker is the murder victim because police do not have "100 percent identification" on the body. Because authorities have not confirmed the murder victim's identity, he said, family notification procedures have not been completely carried out.
He said officers Tuesday were unable to match fingerprints taken from the body with prints on file at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
KBI officers were working directly with local authorities to identify the body.
Police reports from November indicate that Baker was reported missing by Aubrey Baker, 31, Lawrence. The police reports indicate that Tamara Baker, whose address was listed as 1113 Conn., was last seen Oct. 31.
Gene Bickford, 723 N.Y., said detectives questioned him and his wife shortly after Halloween about the disappearance of a woman who was last seen when she was dropped off in the area.
THE BODY was found Friday in a brushy, wooded area south of the 800 block of East Eighth Street.
District court records show that Tamara Baker was charged Oct. 23 with a felony count of theft after she allegedly took jewelry items from the Jewelry Source, 1023 Mass. Since the charge was filed, the Jewelry Source has moved to the Lawrence Riverfront Plaza.
Baker, court records show, waived a preliminary hearing Oct. 30 one day before she was last seen and was ordered to stand trial. Baker did not appear at the trial, which was scheduled for Dec. 20, and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
The warrant remains outstanding.