BETHANY — Investigators in this Oklahoma City suburb say they are frustrated with the lack of leads in the case of a 19-year-old woman found dismembered in a duffel bag behind a grocery store, but they aren't giving up and have assigned nearly one fifth of their department to find her killer.
Complicating their efforts is a strange circle of friends and potential witnesses, including some involved with drugs and many who have no permanent phones or addresses.
Police Detective Angelo Orefice said police have interviewed between 50 and 60 people since Carina Saunders' body was found Oct. 13. Detectives said some are friends of Saunders who dabble in drugs, are known only by their street names and do not have permanent jobs, homes or telephones.
Orifice said Saunders, a 2010 graduate of Mustang High School, was known to use methamphetamine, marijuana and Ecstasy. Police have been unable to determine whether she had a job or where she was living at the time of her death.
“She ran with a rough crowd,” Deputy Police Chief John Reid said. “She hung around a lot of different people. And that's what makes this case so hard. We're dealing with people who don't want to have anything to do with the police.”
Residents are on edge, and police continue to look for suspects two weeks after the beheaded body was found near a grocery store.
“It's the worst thing I've ever seen,” Orefice said. “People are nervous.”
Orifice and other Bethany police detectives will not discuss the gruesome details of the case, including the manner and extent to which Saunders' body was dismembered.
They've enlisted the help of state and federal investigators, and while they had no suspects Friday, they pledged the case will be solved.
“It's going to turn out with an arrest eventually,” Reid said. “All we can really say is that we are following up all leads.”
Other agencies helping
Authorities said Friday they are not looking for specific persons of interest, but Bethany police Detective Austin Warfield said investigators believe at least two people were involved in Saunders' death.
“The nature of the crime is not such that I think one person could do this,” Warfield said.
Bethany police said six of the department's 31 officers are assigned to the case full-time.
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