Scottsdale police are investigating leads from a decades-old cold case involving the death of a suspected Phoenix prostitute after a resident found a human femur in a north Scottsdale wash.
A Scottsdale resident found the bone Friday while walking near Scottsdale and Pinnacle Peak roads.
The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting DNA testing on the bone to see if it matches the missing femur of Karen Davis, Scottsdale police Lt. Craig Chrzanowski told the Tribune on Monday.
“Over time, and coyotes in the wash could have moved the bone to the area where it was found,” Chrzanowski said.
The femur was about a mile away from where Davis’ partial remains were discovered by a group of Arizona State University students on a desert field trip near the southeast corner of Scottsdale and Jomax roads in March 1985, Chrzanowski said.
Scottsdale police suspect the bone, found on the surface of the wash, has been “in the desert for a number of years,” department spokeswoman Shawn Sanders said Monday.
“With weather and certain rains, things come to the surface,” she said.
Chrzanowski said that Davis’ unsolved slaying is one of 14 cases the police department’s cold case unit has placed on high priority.
However, he would not say whether there are any suspects in Davis’ case at this time.
Davis had been missing since the first week of November 1984, and was last seen in a bar in south Phoenix.
In 2005, scientific evidence determined the bones discovered by the ASU students were consistent with the DNA of Davis’ three sisters and that of her two children.
The death investigation has been considered an open first-degree murder case since Davis’ remains were identified.
“Our primary goal is to identify the person the bone belongs to,” Sanders said. “Right now, we’re not discounting any cold cases. The bone was determined to be in the area for a number of years.”
How to help
Police are asking anyone who knows anything about the case to call the Scottsdale Police Department at (480) 312-5000 or Silent Witness at (800) 343-8477.