Investigators use DNA evidence to identify victim in 1998 Utah cold case

GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah — Officials with the Utah State Bureau of Investigation have made major breakthroughs in a 20-year-old cold case.

A woman was found wrapped in a sleeping bag near Ticaboo, Utah in 1998. She had suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

On Wednesday, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office identified her as Lena Reyes-Geddes, who resided in Youngstown, Ohio.

Reyes-Geddes, who was originally from Mexico, had been living in Ohio for two years before she was murdered.

Authorities were able to positively identify the body earlier this month after receiving DNA samples from two family members who live in Mexico.

The identification comes after the cold case was renewed in October and authorities put out a new plea for information, along with photos from the crime scene. 

While a suspect in the murder has not been named, the sheriff’s office indicates they know that person’s identity.

“The suspect of this murder committed suicide in Nevada in the early 2000’s,” a statement from the Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office said they are grateful to the State Bureau of Investigation, which is part of the Department of Public Safety, for their help in the case.

“The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is very grateful to give our victim a name and peace to her family,” a post stated.

The Department of Public Safety announced they will be releasing more details in the case Thursday at 2 p.m. at a press conference.