A woman who police say was strangled and stripped of her clothing has been identified as Anne Michelle Rich, a 31-year-old Salt Lake County resident who police say led a drifter's lifestyle.
Rich's body was found Thursday in a grassy alley just west of 200 West and Paxton Avenue (1360 South) by a laborer walking in the area.The 6:30 a.m. discovery prompted the man to walk to a nearby restaurant and alert an employee who then notified police.
The woman had been dead for several hours, said Salt Lake Police homicide Sgt. Jerry Mendez said. Mendez said it is too early to say if she had been raped.
Detectives began questioning nearby business operators and residents in the area, trying to determine if there are witnesses who may have heard anything that would provide answers in the case.
So far, the investigation has proven difficult because Rich had no permanent address.
"Right now we are trying to locate acquaintances and back-track to find out who she was with recently who may know something."
At this point, Mendez said detectives had found an individual who saw Rich five or six days earlier.
"That does not put us any closer to the person who murdered her."
Rich was known to Salt Lake police. She had been arrested at least four times this year for a variety of misdemeanor offenses, including prostitution, disorderly conduct, sex solicitation and providing false information to police, records show.
Police say the woman's lifestyle -- no permanent address -- poses challenges in trying to track down her killer.
"It is a time-consuming effort," Mendez said. "Her lifestyle makes it difficult."
Because Rich's body was found on railroad property, the suspicion arose she may have been killed by Rafael Resendez-Ramirez.
The migrant worker is on the FBI's 10 most wanted list for his connection to a double murder in Illinois last week. He is also suspected of six other slayings in Texas, Illinois and Kentucky.
Dubbed the train killer, Resendez-Ramirez rides the rails and then breaks into homes, beating and often raping his victims. His first alleged slayings date back to 1997. In the most recent homicide where officers found Resendez-Ramirez' prints, a 79-year-old Jackson County, Ill., man was shot to death June 15 in his home and a 51-year-old woman was bludgeoned to death.
Although the killer's victims have been found near railroad tracks, police here do not suspect he is connected to Rich's slaying because most of the tri-state killers' victims were found in their homes.