More than two years have passed since the body of a missing Auburn woman was found buried in King County’s Cascade Mountains, days after her car was set on fire in downtown Tacoma.
The murder has puzzled Tacoma detectives determined to find who was responsible, but they have theories about how Diana Davis, a part-time nurse who led a peaceful life, was the victim of a homicide.
“A random act of violence, you’re not going to go through that level of planning to hide it,” lead investigator Jack Nasworthy told a reporters’ room Friday at Tacoma Police Department headquarters. “This person is concerned enough to take extreme measures to destroy evidence.”
Tacoma detectives are hoping renewed media coverage of the cold case will lead to someone coming forward with more information.
Davis, 50, was last seen alive in the Proctor District of Tacoma tending to her community garden plot on July 27, 2020. Nasworthy said investigators determined she then went to a hardware store and walked around for about 45 minutes without buying anything. Next, she drove to downtown Seattle, near Lumen Field.
Nasworthy said Davis had a boyfriend in Pierce County at the time, but the two had an open relationship and Davis had met men on dating sites.
“Our working theory is that she arranged to meet someone in Seattle the night she disappeared,” Nasworthy said. “But her cell phone was never recovered, so we don’t know who she was contacting.”
The woman’s boyfriend contacted family members within days as she was not returning his calls. On July 29, Tacoma police responded to a car fire in the 1600 block of Court E. License plates had been removed, but the Chevy Impala was registered to Davis. Her purse was in the car.
A week after the fire, on August 5, Nasworthy said a person walking dogs near Snoqualmie Pass on a U.S. Forest Service road was led to Davis’ remains by a dog. Deputies from the King County Sheriff’s Department responded. The county medical examiner identified the woman, but due to the condition of her remains, her body was sent to a forensic anthropologist for further investigation. Nasworthy said Davis’ cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries to the face.
When Davis’s longtime friend, Monica Joseph, got a call about what had happened, she said she couldn’t believe it. Joseph also spoke to reporters Friday at the TPD headquarters. She said she was angry at her friend’s death and thought of her every day.
“It’s just time for this to end,” Joseph said. “Whatever information you have that you want to share or could share, Diana deserves justice. What happened to her, she didn’t deserve it.
Tacoma detectives don’t have much to work with, but Nasworthy said the Washington State Patrol obtained partial DNA from a man on Davis’ body who investigators believe was his killer. .
Nasworthy said he hopes someone with knowledge of the dating apps or websites used by Davis will come forward. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
This story was originally published September 2, 2022 1:18 p.m.