By Nicole Burns

facial sketch
Sketch of the female released by investigators. Special photo

(Buford, Ga.) — A family finally gets answers as to what became of their daughter after remains that were found on the side of I-985 were identified.  The remains of a female were found in a suitcase on the side of I-985 just north of Buford Drive in Buford on July 29, 2016. Police immediately set out to identify the female.

The suitcase containing the remains were found by a construction worker who had ventured into the woods beside I-985 to relieve himself. The worker then told a supervisor who called authorities. Gwinnett County investigators responded to the scene and estimated that the remains had been in the suitcase for approximately six months before it was found on that late July day.

The Gwinnett County Police Department reported that the remains belonged to a female between the ages of 20 and 30 years old and believed her ethnicity to be of mixed race (mostly white) or Hispanic. They also released what the female was wearing to the public in hopes of learning her identity. No credible leads came into the investigators.

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The scene along I-985 just north of Buford Drive in Buford where the remains were found. Special photo

In January 2017, the findings of a forensic anthropologist were released to the public which said the female was white (probably Asian Indian or Eastern Indian), between 5’1” and 5’5” tall, between 20 – 29 years old, had some spinal fusion with slight scoliosis, and had a healed injury to her left side ribs. Even with these findings, police were unable to match her to anyone in the missing person database.

On the suitcase, the female was found in had a tag with faded blue ink on it that was invisible to the human eye. Several lighting tests were done in 2016 but nothing was found at that time. In 2019, the tag was re-examined with new technology that had become available. 

Jessica Manchini DL photo
The remains belong to Jessica Ashley Manchini who was reported missing in 2014. Special photo

The new test revealed a partial name and address which led investigators to Jessica Ashley Manchini who was 29 years old at the time of her remains being discovered. She was reported missing in December 2014 by her mother. Manchini had been living in Gwinnett County for the last few years of her life but was originally from Pennsylvania.

The remains were confirmed by comparing her medical and dental records.

Authorities say that the cause and manner of her death are still under investigation.

If anyone has any information to share in this case, please contact GCPD detectives at 770-513-5300.  To remain anonymous, tipsters should contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or visit  Crime Stoppers tipsters can receive a cash reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case.  Case Number: 16-070200 

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