Spokane Police say they've solved a cold case in which a woman found dead 40 years ago had Wenatchee ties.

Source: Spokane Police - digitally created photo of Ruth Belle Waymire Digital
Source: Spokane Police - digitally created photo of Ruth Belle Waymire 

The body of the victim found along the Spokane River shoreline in 1984 by fishermen was so mutilated that she couldn't be identified.

Investigators followed several leads including the discovery of a skull in 1998, but the case grew cold again when efforts to identify the victim fell short of viable.

As DNA technology became more advanced, detectives found the skull to be a match to the body discovered along the river.

In 2002, police say forensic drawings and a facial reconstruction of the skull were developed to assist in the investigation. In 2007, the victim's information was added to NamUs, a national missing and identified persons system.

Source: Spokane Police
Source: Spokane Police - Facial reconstruction of Ruth Belle Waymire


Recently investigators called on Othram, a company that specializes in working with degraded samples, to assist. Othram and other agencies helped narrowed the search down to a list of family members.

With the help of public records and DNA provided by one of the family members, investigators were able to identify the body as 24-year-old Ruth Belle Waymire.

Waymire was described to live a lifestyle as a vagabond in Wenatchee, wandering from place to place. Investigators say she married her second husband, Trampas D.L. Vaughn, in Wenatchee. He died in 2017. He has not been ruled out as a suspect.

Trampas D.L. Vaughn
Trampas D.L. Vaughn

No other suspects have been identified, including Waymire's first husband who police say currently lives in Spokane and is cooperating with the investigation.

Waymire would have been 63 next month. Anyone with further information is asked to call Crime Check, Spokane's crime reporting agency, at 456-2233.

For case details, click here.

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