Woman found dead near I-5 identified as 25-year-old from California

Woman found dead near I-5 identified as 25-year-old from California »Play Video
Tara Elizabeth Gordon is seen in an April 2012 booking photo from Shasta County, California. She was booked on a vandalism charge.

NEAR WOODBURN, Ore. - A woman whose body was found close to Interstate 5 near Woodburn has been identified as a 25-year-old from Redding, California.

Tara Elizabeth Gordon was found dead Friday morning.

Police have not said if the discovery is connected to any crime but did confirm they are pursuing it as a criminal investigation. An autopsy Friday afternoon confirmed that the cause of death was a head injury.

"We're proceeding as if her death is related to a crime, just because there is injury to her." Lt. Gregg Hastings with Oregon State Police said.

Officers went to the location at about 5:20 a.m. Friday following several reports of a person down near the northbound lanes of I-5. The woman was found in the grass near a gravel strip close to the highway. Police said there was no identification on her when her body was found.

"We don’t know if she was walking and someone may’ve seen her, if she was in a vehicle, and may’ve been stopped and let out and something may’ve happened to her," Hastings said.  "We just haven’t figured any of that out yet."

Investigators said the woman was in her late teens or early 20s, about 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighed about 100 pounds, with blue eyes and shoulder-length brown hair. She was wearing black jeans, a dark t-shirt, a zippered tan and black plaid sweatshirt with a gray hood and tan hiking boots.

Richard King, who stores his RV near where the woman's body was found, said there has been crime in the area. "It is pretty disturbing because we’ve had a lot of golf carts stolen, houses being broken into here in the estates," King said. "Somebody lost their daughter, you know... She could be a mother, you know?  Nobody knows, not right now."

The investigation is continuing. One lane of I-5 was blocked while police worked at the scene.

Investigators said they would like to hear from anyone who was traveling along Interstate 5 near Woodburn early Friday morning who may have seen a female matching the woman's description walking in the area, or any vehicles stopped on the side of the northbound lanes prior to 5:17 a.m.

So far police say they have received more than 35 tips in the case. Anyone with further information regarding the case is asked to contact OSP Northern Command Center dispatch at 800-452-7888.