Remains in suitcase in Wisconsin identified as missing woman

Human remains found in a suitcase in western Wisconsin last year have been identified as those of a woman reported missing after working in a popular tourist area in the state, according to sheriff’s officials.

Authorities said DNA was used to identify Rosaly Cindy Chavarria Rodriguez, who was 25 at the time she was reported missing in July 2020. Rodriguez, a native of Peru, had been working in the Wisconsin Dells area, Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said in a statement Monday.

Rodriguez was living in Reedsburg, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of the Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton tourist area.

According to sheriff’s officials, on Oct. 14, 2020, a woman’s heavily decomposed remains were found stuffed in a purple suitcase at an abandoned farmhouse in the Chippewa County town of Wheaton, which is about 150 miles (241 kilometers) northwest of the Dells area.

Investigators suspected the remains might be Rodriguez because of clothing that matched those belonging to her. Officers had learned the remains were located at the farmhouse during a drug investigation, when an informant told them about it.

"The problem with this is we still don’t know where she was killed; we don’t know where the homicide took place," Kowalczyk said.

Investigators said they have identified a person of interest, but were not more specific. Kowalczyk said there is no danger to the public in western Wisconsin, saying the suspect was last seen in southern states.

A crime lab in Texas officially released DNA test results to Kowalczyk last week, saying the profiles matched Rodriguez.