- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Police in a tiny western Pennsylvania borough still can’t identify the embalmed head of an older woman found discarded in the woods a month ago, so now they’re releasing images of a three-dimensional model of it.

Economy Borough Chief Michael O’Brien said a police sketch of the dead woman’s face released late last month hasn’t helped. So police on Monday released two images of a 3-D model in hopes someone might recognize the woman.

The remains were found Dec. 12 about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Police determined the head wasn’t preserved in a manner used by medical schools, so they believe it came from a body embalmed by a funeral home. But they have no clue why someone would have severed the head from her remains and dumped it along a little-used road.

“We’ve gotten some leads in, but we’ve eliminated those persons through dental records,” O’Brien said.

Police also believe whoever severed the head knew what he or she was doing, he said, “without going into too, too much more detail” in order to be sensitive.

The head appears to be that of woman in her late 60s or early 70s, but who could have died in her 50s.

Because the head was embalmed, police don’t believe she was a homicide victim, but a crime still could have been committed depending on how and why the head wound up in the woods. Among other things, it’s illegal to abuse a corpse in Pennsylvania.

The police have contacted the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association, entered information about the head into the National Crime Information Center and submitted DNA from it to the U.S. Justice Department’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

The head appeared to be in good condition, leading police to believe it hadn’t been there more than a week before it was found.

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