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Body Found in Suitcase

Police have found the remains of a woman in luggage in South Riding.

A preliminary autopsy has been performed on the remains of a woman found in a suitcase in a South Riding dumpster.

Authorities have asked a cultural anthropologist to help identify her race, which is possibly Middle Eastern or Asian. The woman had shoulder-length straight black hair and is believed to have been in her mid-20s to 40 years old, the medical examiner said.

Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Department, said the suitcase was "large," but he would not provide its dimensions. He also would not disclose whether the woman's body was badly deteriorated or if she was in one piece. "We are not discussing the condition of the body at this time," he said.

Troxell also said police are not releasing the cause of death.

A maintenance worker had been working on the Abbey Apartment complex grounds on Thoroughgood Drive and found the luggage in a dumpster about 11 a.m. Monday, he said. "He found a suspicious suitcase. He opened it up and saw what he believed to be part of a body."

Trash haulers emptied the dumpster sometime after 10 a.m. Friday morning and were slated to come back again on Monday, he said. Police impounded the dumpster and another one at the complex for evidence. They secured the crime scene, interviewed residents and set up a roadblock to talk to motorists on their way home from work, he said. "They are following up on leads."

The body was taken to the Northern Virginia medical examiner's office in Fairfax.

Cuong Ngo lives near the South Riding apartment complex. "This is a very new community," he said. "It is very scary."

He said he and his neighbors want the murderer arrested. "He is not human. I would think it's a man to be strong enough to do that," he said. "We don't want any crime like that here."

Supervisor Stephen Snow (R-Dulles) agreed. "It's unsettling in a community such as ours," he said. "We are all shocked. I encourage citizens to let the Sheriff's Department handle it."