UPDATE: A Pierce County Sheriff's detective said Friday that Rita Catherine Kagawa's death is being investigated as a homicide.
"We have a person of interest that we're investigating," Pierce County Sheriff's Detective Denny Wood added. "The investigation has been ongoing since her disappearance.
Kagawa, 53, was reported missing by her family on May 20, Wood said.
PREVIOUS STORY The Thurston County Corner's Office has identified a woman whose body was found Tuesday off of state Route 510 near Yelm as Rita Catherine Kagawa, 53, of Tacoma.
The investigation of the woman's death has been turned over to the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, according to a news release from Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock.
The cause and manner of Kagawa's death are pending autopsy results, the news release states.
According to Crime Stoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County: "Kagawas family reported her missing after she uncharacteristically failed to show up to her job on Sunday May 20th, 2012."
Kagawa's decomposing body was found Tuesday in the 13100 block of state Route 510, near the Nisqually Indian Reservation in Thurston County. Her remains were discovered by a motorist.
A family member last spoke to Kagawa on the phone about 6:30 p.m. on the night of Friday May 18th, 2012, according to the Tacoma/Pierce County Crime Stoppers web site. "Kagawas vehicle was left parked outside of her apartment and her apartment is undisturbed. She has no known previous disappearances, medical or mental health issues," according to the Crime Stoppers web site.
Pierce County Sheriff's Detective Denny Wood is investigating Kagawa's disappearance. He could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org