Woman’s decapitated, dismembered body found in Washington positively identified almost 40 years later
04/04/2023 4:02 pm PDT
SPOKANE, Wash. (TCD) -- A decapitated and dismembered woman found nearly 40 years ago has finally been positively identified and given a name.
According to Spokane Police, on June 20, 1984, two fishermen discovered a torso in the Spokane River. Her hands and feet had reportedly been dismembered, as had her head. No one matching her description had been reported missing, so the case went cold.
In April 1998, a woman walking her dog reportedly found a skull in a vacant lot, and police believed it might have been connected to the 1984 case. In 2001, thanks to advancements in DNA technology, police learned the skull was a match for the torso. Officials uploaded the info to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), but that did not yield any results or positive identification.
The Spokane Police Department named the victim Millie because one of the detective’s daughters said, "No one deserves not to have a name."
One year later, investigators released a forensic drawing and facial reconstruction using the skull found in the lot. In 2007, her information was uploaded to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Still, nothing came to fruition.
In 2021, Spokane Police Sgt. Zac Storment sent DNA from Millie’s torso to Othram. Using the DNA sample, Othram created a profile of Millie and compiled a list of potential family members using genealogical databases. Detectives reportedly spoke with a relative in Spokane, and that person provided their DNA. The relative’s DNA helped narrow down the possibilities to two women, one of whom was likely Millie. Investigators tracked down the other woman in Oklahoma City, and she gave a DNA sample as well.
On Feb. 17, Othram confirmed the sibling relationship between Millie and the other woman. She was identified as Ruth Belle Waymire.
According to Spokane Police, Waymire’s parents divorced when she was young. She and her sister lived with their mother in Spokane, and their mother died shortly after. Police said Waymire and her sister "went their separate ways and did not stay in contact."
No one ever reported Waymire missing because she was "described to have a vagabond lifestyle spending time in Wenatchee as well as Spokane."
She was 24 years old when she was killed.
Spokane Police said Waymire gave birth likely a year or two before she died and was married to her second husband. Waymire’s husband at the time, Trampas D.L. Vaughn, reportedly served time in prison in Iowa before moving to the Pacific Northwest, and there is no record of a divorce. Vaughn died in 2017. Spokane Police have not ruled him out as a suspect. Her first husband reportedly still lives in Spokane and is cooperating with investigators.
According to Spokane Police, the identity of Ruth’s child remains unknown.
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