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A woman found dead was likely strangled, Keys detectives say. Now, who is she?

The black Dodge conversion van belonging to Steven Wolf, who was arrested on a murder charge in the death of an unidentified woman Wednesday, Nov. 21, sits inside the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office hangar in Marathon. Police are looking to speak with anyone who may have seen the van in Marathon between Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening.
The black Dodge conversion van belonging to Steven Wolf, who was arrested on a murder charge in the death of an unidentified woman Wednesday, Nov. 21, sits inside the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office hangar in Marathon. Police are looking to speak with anyone who may have seen the van in Marathon between Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening. Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A woman found dead in the Marathon woods last Wednesday was likely strangled, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrest report for the suspect in the case.

Although police were quick to make an arrest in the murder, detectives are frustrated that they have yet to be able to identify the woman.

Adam Linhardt, sheriff’s office spokesman, said no one has called the agency inquiring about a missing relative or friend, and detectives are still trying to figure out the identity of the woman, described as white, between the the ages of 50 and 60.

“It remains an active, open case,” he said.

Steven Wolf.jpg
Steven Matthew Wolf MCSO

Detectives say Steven Matthew Wolf, 58, the Marathon man they arrested on a second-degree murder charge Thursday, strangled her, but also inflicted some other type of violence upon her because there was blood found throughout his Dodge conversion van and on sheets found in dumpsters throughout the Middle Keys city, according to the report released Monday.

It’s not clear how detectives concluded the victim was strangled. Many of the details of the case were blacked out in the report. The medical examiner had not yet completed an autopsy as of Monday.

It appears Wolf may have served time on a murder conviction from the mid-1970s in his native Boise, Idaho, law enforcement sources say. A man named Steven Wolf, who is the same age as the suspect, was convicted of killing an elderly man in 1976 by smothering him to death, with the help of three friends, according to published news reports. The then-teenagers broke into the man’s house to steal his Social Security check.

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office, which arrested the teens, did not immediately respond to a public records request on the case.

The Monroe County State Attorney’s Office declined to comment, but Wolf’s bond information form states he has a prior homicide charge.

The woman’s naked body was found around 2 p.m. Wednesday in a wooded area by a man fishing from shore on the north side of the Vaca Cut Bridge. Linhardt said it was not clear if she was also sexually assaulted.

The area where the man found the body had tire marks through the brush, and police found broken after-market car parts there. A few hours later, deputies spotted a 2001 Dodge van parked at the Kmart shopping plaza at 5585 Overseas Highway. It was damaged and had pieces of branches stuck underneath it consistent with the trees where the body was found, Detective Rosa DiGiovanni wrote in her report.

The car parts found at the scene also matched the van, DiGiovanni stated.

Wolf was inside the van. The vehicle had a bed, a stove top and clothes hanging, indicating Wolf was living in it.

Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying the body. Police described her as a white woman with sandy brown hair, 50 to 60 years old, and about five-foot-eight and 150 to 180 pounds.

Detectives have used her fingerprints to try to find out who she is, Linhardt said.

“They have also cross-referenced all available information on our law enforcement databases, including facial recognition software, in an attempt to identify her,” Linhardt said. “Those efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.”

Police also want to talk to anyone who saw Wolf between 9 a.m. Tuesday and 6 p.m. Wednesday, or if they saw the type of black Dodge conversion van he was driving — with an American flag bug shield above the grill — within that same time.

Anyone with information about her identity or how she died can call Crime Stoppers at 866-471-TIPS (8477); go to the Florida Keys Crime Stoppers web page; text via the P3 Phone app; or use @305CrimeStoppers on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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