SOUTH VALLEY, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Salamanca woman vanished back in 2007, even though her remains were found a few years later, the case went cold.
Officials say the death of Traci Douglass is still an active investigation, and during the past few years they have been following hundreds of leads in the case.
Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb said, "This 39-year-old mother did not deserve to expire unnaturally, did not deserve to lay unfound, did not deserve a length of time in which it took to be identified."
Douglass's remains were found on the west shore of the Kinzua Reservoir in 2009. Sheriff Whitcomb said due to her age and where she was discovered, he did not believe this was a natural death.
"We believe that clearly this was an unnatural death, which leaves us two options: accidental or foul play," Sheriff Whitcomb said.
In April of 2011, using DNA from bones and teeth, forensic experts in New York City were able to match the victim with her family. Wednesday morning, the sheriff's office made an appeal to the public for anyone with information on the case to come forward.
Sheriff Whitcomb said, "I encourage and implore anybody in the public with any information whatsoever, even if you've already contacted us, to re-contact us."
Investigators say they have interviewed some persons of interest in the case but they wouldn't be specific about it. The sheriff said there are people in the public who he believes have critical information about what happened to Douglass and what led to her death. Officials are hoping those people come forward and provide the missing link, so investigators can finally solve this case.
Douglass came to Salamanca in 2001, and is originally from Cumberland, Maryland. It is believed she was last seen in early 2007.
Investigator John Ensell said, "We know some of the friends that she was with during the time that we believe that she went missing, but there's just some answers out there we have to have."
Ensell says he believes there are people out there who know how Douglass died. If you have any information, call Investigator Joe Magiera at 938-2205 or Ensell at 938-2261.
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