Detectives seek public’s help in possible homicide investigation

Image created using June 2017 photo of Elizabeth Carol Celeste Chatman, of Oklahoma, whose body was discovered Aug. 25 in Washington County | Photo courtesy of Susan Chatman, St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Washington County Sheriff’s detectives investigating the death of a female found Aug. 25 near the Virgin River and later identified as an Oklahoma woman are seeking the public’s help.

The remains, discovered in southwest Washington County near the Virgin River Aug. 25, were later identified as 32-year-old Elizabeth Carol Celeste Chatman of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Read more: Human remains found near Virgin River in Washington County 

Elizabeth Carol Celeste Chatman, of Oklahoma, whose body was found in southwest Washington County Aug. 25, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, circa June 2017 | Photo courtesy of Susan Chatman, St. George News,

The remains were sent to the medical examiner for identification and autopsy, but the cause of death could not be determined due to the advanced state of decomposition, Lt. Dave Crouse said

Detectives have been conducting a criminal investigation, which is typical in an unattended death until foul play can be ruled out.

According to information released Wednesday, the criminal investigation is still ongoing, and detectives are seeking information on anyone who may have seen or had contact with Chatman during July and August.

Additionally, although the medical examiner was unable to determine the cause of death, Crouse said that “the circumstances of where Chatman was located are suspicious.”

Chatman was described as a black female, 5 feet 5 inches tall, 170 pounds with several tattoos, most recognizably, a large anatomically correct heart on the center of her chest, as well as flowers tattooed on her back, a sleeve of flowers on her left arm, a skull on her right ankle and a heart with flowers on her right arm.

In July, Chatman left Oklahoma City to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, and arrived on July 9 or 10, going by the first name of Elizabeth, Liz and Eli. She used Craigslist to find various places to stay while visiting the Las Vegas area and was also known to use Craigslist for rides.

The victim was last seen near the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas.

Elizabeth Carol Celeste Chatman, of Oklahoma, whose body was found in southwest Washington County Aug. 25, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, circa June 2017 | Photo courtesy of Susan Chatman, St. George News

Detectives have reason to believe Chatman wanted to travel to other locations, including Portland, Oregon, and was seeking ways to make that happen before she disappeared.

In September, the Chatman family in Oklahoma was notified by the Sheriff’s Office after positive identification was made. Susan Chatman, the victim’s mother, said her daughter was “heading to Vegas to start a new life.”

Read more: Human remains found near Virgin River in Washington County identified by authorities

Family members said they believe Elizabeth Chatman was possibly held against her will, and that her death was not accidental.

According to Crouse, the death, at this time, “has not been ruled a homicide, but that also cannot be ruled out,” he said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s investigation division at telephone 435-656-6644, or by email at tips@washeriff.net .

The Chatman case is also featured on the “Never Forget Me” Facebook page, where information on missing or unidentified individuals is posted so these cases remain in the public eye until they are solved, the bodies identified, individuals are found or their remains are returned to the families.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.