The skeletal remains of a body found buried a few feet from the Tuolumne River near John Thurman Field in April were identified today as a Modesto woman.
Modesto police detectives received confirmation this morning the remains were that of Regina Patton, who was believed to be a transient at the time of her 2007 death.
In April, Modesto police detectives arrested Reno couple Thomas George Wright, 43, and his wife, Judy Lynn Wright, 44, on suspicion of murdering Patton.
Patton's identity was determined by DNA analysis, and a forensic anthropologist is involved in examining evidence, according to Modesto police Sgt. Brian Findlen.
Patton, who would have turned 50 in April, had been last seen by family members in 2007, and was reported missing this year. Her remains were discovered on April 6.
Police would not comment today on how Patton died as the investigation is ongoing.
Findlen said in April the investigation suggested the Wrights acted together in the summer of 2007 to kill Patton.
Patton had spent time near the river, where there are homeless encampments. Detectives have not determined whether the missing woman had lived in one of encampments, Findlen said.
Detectives believe the Wrights were living in the Modesto area at the time of the murder.
The homicide investigation started in early April when Modesto police detectives received a phone call from the Reno Police Department.
Findlen said the Wrights were involved in a domestic dispute. Reno police had arrived and questioned the couple when they learned a possible homicide had occurred in Modesto and the location of the victim.
The dispute in Reno is not related to the death of the Modesto victim.
On April 5, Reno police brought Judy Wright to Modesto, where she directed investigators to the burial site.
While investigating the homicide, which led to the Wrights' arrest, detectives obtained information that linked the couple to the rape that occurred in November 2007 in downtown Modesto, Findlen said.
In addition to the murder charges, the couple also was arrested in connection with the rape of a 19-year-old Modesto woman in an unrelated incident.
Thomas Wright was booked on additional charges of rape, forced oral copulation and forced sexual penetration with a foreign object.
He said Judy Wright was booked on additional charges of rape in concert and forced sexual penetration with a foreign object.