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Authorities Identify N.J. Murder Victim Nicknamed 'Tiger Lady' As Missing Teen Wendy Louise Baker

People logo People 11/19/2021 Chris Harris
Wendy Louise Baker © Warren County Prosecutor Wendy Louise Baker

Warren County Prosecutor Wendy Louise Baker © Provided by People Warren County Prosecutor Wendy Louise Baker

Authorities in New Jersey say that they used enhanced DNA technology to solve the mystery of a young woman whose body was discovered three decades ago.

The body of a young woman or late teenager was was found on Oct. 26, 1991 off Interstate 80 in Knowlton Township, near the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border. Because of the advanced case of decomposition, authorities were unable to determine a cause of death or a positive identification. The unidentified woman was known locally as the "Tiger Lady" because of a large Bengal tiger tattoo on her left calf.

The case soon went cold, and it seemed unlikely that authorities would ever figure out the Tiger Lady's identify.

But at a press conference on Friday, the Tiger Lady was revealed to be Wendy Louise Baker, a 16-year-old runaway who was last seen in Coatesville, Penn. Her death has been classified as a homicide.

Detectives long believed that Baker was killed elsewhere, and her naked body was later moved to the wooded area where she would eventually be found by hunters.

Warren County Prosecutor James Pfeiffer said at the press conference it was "a terrible thing to have her unknown for so many years," but stressed it was important to bring closure to this case— and her family.

Baker's family, investigators said Friday, were instrumental in helping identify her, providing DNA as well as photos of Wendy that matched forensic sketches.

Scientists were able to draw Baker's DNA from a fragment of one of her bones.

According to authorities, Baker had left her family in Florida at the age of 15. She may have lived in California for a time before moving to Pennsylvania.

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Pfeiffer reiterated his dedication Friday to using DNA technology to solve as many of the county's cold cases as possible.

"It takes someone coming forward to help us," Pfeiffer said. "We need information — someone out there has information with regard to this, information they need to come forward with. They need to tell us, and then, we can move forward."

Pfeiffer said he is "confident" someone will come forward, and that Baker's murder will be solved.

At this time, authorities have no leads on any suspects in the young girl's murder.

Their investigation remains active, though. It is asked that anyone who may have any information about the murder of Wendy Baker contact the Warren County Prosecutor's Office at (908) 475-6275.

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