BATTLE GROUND, Wash. – On the eve of her 23rd birthday, family members and Battle Ground Police are asking for tips from the public to help solve a hit-and-run they said killed a young woman nearly a month ago.
Two days after she was reported missing, the body of 22-year-old Tatyana Tupikova was discovered by a passerby, Brian Drake, on May 11 on State Highway 503, about a quarter of a mile south of Main Street in Battle Ground, Wash.
Bonnie Gilberti with Battle Ground Police said investigators believe Tatyana was hit while walking home May 9 at approximately 9:00 p.m. after watching the 6:30 p.m. showing of "The Avengers" at the Battle Ground Cinemas.
Drake, who lives near where he found the body, said he saw a missing poster for Tatyana before he spotted her yellow shoes in a ditch between Main and Eaton streets. “She was face down and I froze,” Drake said.
Police said she died from blunt force trauma and they believe she was hit by a vehicle. So far, no arrests have been made in the case and no suspect or vehicle descriptions have been released.
Family members gathered with police on Friday, the day before she would have turned 23 years old. Tatyana was one of 14 children.
Police asked for witnesses who were on the roadway that night to come forward.
“We believe there were cars in that area and someone may have seen something,” Gilberti said as family members stood by.
Drake said he feels he had help in finding Tatyana’s remains. “On the poles were the ads for the missing gal and I said ‘hmmm…’ Then I kept walking home and I was walking by and the Lord said ‘take a look,’ and I did.”
Drake said he sometimes struggles with the aftermath of finding Tatyana's body. “It’s been rough. I really feel for the parents. I have two kids,” he said. "I’m pretty shaken by it."
“Tatyana was always cheerful, outgoing and full of life,” her sister Olga said. She loved to a walk and was “a caring person, often putting others before herself.”
Tatyana’s death “has deeply impacted her family and the entire community,” Gilberti said in a press release issued Friday, nearly a month after Tatyana was killed.
Family members said she worked at a retirement home and hoped to become a nurse someday.
“She loved to wear flowers in her hair which didn’t always match her outfit and if we teased her she would say with a smile, 'you’re just jealous because I’m beautiful,'" her sister said. "Please help us find out what happened that night."
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in the case. Anyone reporting a tip can remain anonymous.
Police urge anyone with any information to contact Detective Joshua Phelps at (360) 342-5254 or go to Crime Stoppers online.
You can also text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave tip information.