STEUBEN COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) – A big break in a decades-old cold case may lead to more answers in Steuben County.
September 1999, investigators gathered in a farm field north of Angola, where a property owner found a badly decomposed body along a fence row.
The remains were those of a white woman, who had a bra on, but otherwise was completely nude.
Besides some common jewelry she was wearing, and a tattoo of a cross on her shoulder, police had very little to go on.
They had no idea who she was, or how she got there.
“20 years and we’ve finally identified her,” Steuben County Sheriff Rodney Robinson said on Monday.
After seeking the help of Parabon Nanolabs out of Virginia, genetic genealogy analysis has pinpointed ID.
The woman is Tina Cabanaw of Detroit, who was 36 back in 1999, when relatives filed a missing persons report in July of that year.
Jeffery Sine was the first officer on the scene the day the body was discovered.
Police don’t know if this is a homicide, but many factors point to foul play.
“The circumstances surrounding the location, the condition of the body, the lack of identification, the lack of the clothes. In law enforcement, that makes it very suspicious,” Sine said.
Police are thrilled about identification of the body, but there’s more they want to learn.
“This is a wonderful accomplishment, for everyone involved, family and law enforcement, however we have an investigation we still need to solve,” Sheriff Robinson said.
If you have any knowledge of Tina Cabanaw, about how she died, or who she might have been with around the time of her disappearance in 1999, you are urged to contact the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department at 260-668-4646.