The woman, a young mother in her mid-twenties, was killed and put out with the trash one weekend in August.
The scavenger who found her in the trash bin, covered by a blue blanket, next to a box of diapers and a container of cranberry juice, at first confused her for a mannequin.
Two months later, after checking over 100 reports of missing people and running her fingerprints through the FBI computer, District police investigators are no closer to learning who the woman is, or why she was killed.
In an already grim year -- 352 homicides so far in the District, a record-setting pace -- the woman's case stands out because of the sheer force of the attack. She was killed "basically with fists, beaten unmercifully," said D.C. homicide Detective Joe Schwartz.
She was found on the morning of Aug. 12, face down in the trash bin, which is behind a building on the 5100 block of Sargent Road NE. The clean, mid-rise apartment building, one of several in a larger complex, has mostly elderly tenants, and no one has recognized her picture.
The official cause of death is blunt force trauma and strangulation, apparently done by placing hands over her mouth, said Schwartz. The autopsy revealed that she had had one child, or possibly two, he said.
Aside from the brutal manner in which she was killed, it is the disposal of her body that has confounded investigators. Schwartz said there is little doubt that if the scavanger had not found her, the body would have been lost in a landfill.
"Basically, they threw her out for trash, and hoped a Dumpster would come and take her away," said Schwartz, an 11-year police officer. "To be cold enough to throw a human being away like trash is . . . . "
The manner in which she was killed, and then disposed of, is telling to investigators, who now are seeking the public's help in identifying her. Schwartz said the killer is most likely an acquaintance, a husband or a boyfriend.
The homicide may have been committed elsewhere, and the body taken to the trash bin. The victim was found with no jewelry, no identification. Aside from the clothing she was wearing, there is nothing else to go on.
She was clad in tattered denim jeans over black cut-off jeans, something that threw Schwartz off until he learned it is fashionable. Her top was a black T-shirt with a rainbow effect and an engraving that said "voo doo beach body glove."
Investigators have run her fingerprints through the FBI with no luck. They traveled to Baltimore to check that city's records, also coming up empty.
The woman was 5-foot-2, 108 pounds, with cropped hair and of light to medium complexion. Anyone with information should call the homicide unit at 202-727-4347.