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Phoenix police detectives solve 22-year-old cold case

Posted at 4:43 PM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 11:52:05-05

PHOENIX — A 22-year-old cold case has now been solved, according to Phoenix police.

Jenn Skeivik found a woman's body near 34th Street and Clarendon in October of 1997.

"I was on the other side of the stop sign when I saw her white tennis shoes reflected off my headlights," says Skeivik.

She says she pulled over and rolled down her window and asked, "are you okay?" but she heard nothing back from the person lying on her back about three feet from the side of the road.

"The last thing on my mind was that this person would be dead. I thought they would definitely just need help," adds Skeivik.

For years, the woman's identity remained a mystery to Phoenix police and Skeivik.

"I think about her every day. I will never forget the feeling when I tried to wake her up and realized she was not coming back," says Skeivik.

Fast forward to December 9, 2019 -- that's when a New Mexico family got word that the mystery woman was their loved one, Bertha Alicia Holguin Berroteran.

"We are thankful and relieved," a family member told ABC15. He did not want to be identified, but confirmed he took a DNA test which proved to be a match with Berroteran.

Phoenix police say they will likely return some of the personal belongings that they have stored in evidence rooms for nearly two decades.

Bertha Alicia Holguin Berroteran was buried a few years after she was found.

"So she has already been buried and this is something that occurred years back; we obviously have all the information that we needed to proceed with what happened and ending in such a great way today," said Phoenix Police Detective Luis Samudio.