A Maricopa woman exploring an area south of town Sunday morning found the body of a young woman in an abandoned palm tree orchard near N. Anderson Road and the Santa Cruz Wash. The body was found at about 9:45 a.m.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office provided some details on the incident in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
“On March 6, at approximately 10 a.m., PCSO Detectives were called to the area of W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy and N. Anderson Rd. regarding a deceased female found nearby. Her identity has not yet been confirmed. The woman was likely in her late 20s or early 30s, 5-foot-6 with black and blonde hair.”
Detectives are hopeful someone might recognize the woman’s various tattoos, including the word “Strength” in cursive on her left forearm, and several small tattoos on her left hand.
The woman who found the body, Brandy Johnson, is an 18-year resident of Maricopa. She said she initially did not realize what she had stumbled upon.
“Between each row of those palm trees is about five feet of dirt,” she said of the area she was exploring. “About 20 rows back I saw a foot and an arm. Initially, I thought it might be a homeless person, but in my brain, I knew the body was not posed right, and a homeless person wouldn’t be out here, there are no resources. So, I called to the person and there was no answer and that was when I knew she was dead.”
The Pinal County Medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the PCSO investigation is active and ongoing.
Johnson said she frequently explores the areas surrounding the city, and finding the body was unexpected but, in a way, fortunate.
“I had no business being there, but honestly had I not seen her…no one would have seen her,” Johnson said. “She would have decomposed under the palms, and the dead fronds would have covered her. (I was in the) right place at the right time. “It’s her best chance of getting evidence collected and facial recognition, identification or fingerprints. That’s why I snapped out of being upset. I felt a calm knowing she wouldn’t be lost or unseen.”
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is requesting anyone who may know the identity of the victim, or have information regarding her death, to call PCSO at 520-866-5111.