A 41-year-old woman found dead Feb. 28 in a remote wooded area near Whitaker Road and Old Highway 101 in the Steamboat Island area has been identified as Dana M. Kirkland, of White Center in King County.
Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said Monday that Kirklands cause and manner of death are still undetermined. An autopsy showed no signs of trauma that would be indicative of her cause of death, Warnock said.
Kirkland was identified last week, after investigators found a fingerprint match using a missing persons fingerprint database at the Washington State Patrol, Thurston County Sheriffs Lt. Greg Elwin said.
A Department of Natural Resources crew found Kirklands body about 1:30 p.m. February 28, in the woods near Old Highway 101 north of Whitaker Road Northwest.
Kirkland was reported as a missing person to the King County Sheriffs Office on February 18, 2013. Investigators believe that Kirkland last accessed her computer on December 27, most likely at her residence.
That same day, a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox was reported stolen to the Seattle Police Department from near White Center.
On Dec, 27, that stolen vehicle was recovered at the end of Whitaker Road in Thurston County, near where Kirklands body was later found at the end of February.
Based on the proximity of Danas residence to the location of the vehicle theft, combined with the location of that same vehicles recovery in relation to where she was found, it is reasonable to believe that Dana may have traveled to Whitaker Road in that vehicle, Elwin said Monday.
Thurston County detectives are trying to answer the question of how and why Kirkland ended up in such a remote location, Elwin said.
Investigators do not believe Kirkland is a homicide victim, Elwin said.
If anybody has any information about her or that vehicle, or the relation between the two, please let us know, Elwin added.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Thurston County Sheriffs Office at 360.786.5500 during business hours or at 360.704.2740 after hours. Tipsters may also contact via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Twitter @thurstonsheriff.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 email@example.com