Police to hire artist to reconstruct skull’s face | TheUnion.com

Police to hire artist to reconstruct skull’s face

Sheriff’s investigators will use the services of a composite artist to reconstruct the face of a woman whose skull was found last September in the forest off Highway 20.

Detectives had been investigating the possibility that the skull, found by hikers searching for pine cones, belonged to missing North San Juan woman Rhonda Lynn Yokum.

A forensic anthropologist had determined the skull was that of an Asian woman. Yokum, a 20-year-old Filipina, was reported missing in 1985.

Yokum’s father, who now lives out of state, said his daughter had become involved with a man who was part of a motorcycle gang. She reportedly left home to go live with him in Oroville, and her family never saw or heard from her again.

But the anthropologist determined the dead woman was between the ages of 30 and 40 years old, Smith said, and the skull was too moist to have been in the woods much longer than a year.

“We’re pretty sure it’s not (Yokum),” Nevada County Sheriff’s Capt. Ron Smith said recently.

Detectives also compared the skull’s dental chart with information in a Department of Justice missing persons database.

“We haven’t gotten any hits,” Smith said.

The next step in determining the dead woman’s identity, he said, is with the help of Natalie Sweet, a Silicon Valley police officer and composite artist.

“One of our detectives met her at a homicide investigators’ conference,” Smith said.

For a fee of about $500, Sweet will produce a composite drawing of the woman using the skull as her guide.

Investigators will distribute copies of the drawing to regional law enforcement agencies.

If they don’t get any matches from missing persons’ lists in the area, Smith said, they would extend their search statewide, then nationwide.


To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion.com or call 477-4236.

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