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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Investigators Identify Body Found Beside Rural Road

Crime: The Oxnard mother of two had been strangled and hit in the head on Sunday or early Monday. Police say she had been living on the street.

March 15, 2000|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

OXNARD — A 24-year-old Oxnard woman whose partially-clothed body was found Monday in a drainage ditch just east of the city died from head injuries and strangulation, authorities said Tuesday.

Elizabeth I. Salas, an unemployed single mother of two young children, was killed sometime Sunday or early Monday and her body dumped next to a sod farm in the 1500 block of Rice Avenue, authorities said.

Salas' children were being cared for by her parents in east Oxnard and she was living on the streets in that city, said Eric Nishimoto, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. Salas' body was found about a mile from her parents' home, which she frequently visited.

A motive has not been established, but sheriff's detectives are working with the Oxnard and Ventura police departments to determine who Salas may have come in contact with on the day she was killed.

She knew people in both cities, authorities said.

Although she was not described as a gang member, Oxnard gang detectives helped identify Salas from a name tattooed on her neck, said Armando Chavez, a deputy county coroner.

Salas' neck tattoo had apparently been documented by Oxnard officers.

Chavez said identification was also confirmed with Salas' fingerprints, which authorities had on file. Court records show only that Salas had received three traffic tickets, at least two for speeding in Oxnard, in 1998.

"We are gathering information on her background and investigating a whole lot of different avenues," Nishimoto said.

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