Pulse: Chatter: Update: Body of Evidence

Four years ago, as our October 2003 story “Without a Trace” reported, heiress Anita Scott mysteriously vanished from her Delaware County estate on a cold, snowy evening. Today, the case is not only no closer to being solved — it continues to get odder by the month.

Two years ago, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office in Georgia found the badly decomposed remains of a woman fitting Scott’s general age and description, including cosmetic surgery. The ME contacted Delaware County detectives, who had listed Scott on a national missing-person website, asking for a sample of Scott’s DNA. Fulton County officials sent the detectives a composite sketch that bore a strong resemblance to Scott.

It took the county several months to respond to the request, according to Linda Panepinto, one of three Scott cousins who have been deeply involved in the case. Panepinto knows because when she heard about the body, she contacted Fulton County, then called and e-mailed Delaware County to urge officials to send the DNA. But when they finally responded, instead of sending Scott’s DNA — which Panepinto says the county has — it sent a sample from her son, Ridgeley Scott Jr. It wasn’t a match.

In 2003, Panepinto says, Delco officials told her and other family members they would be informed of any progress. This fall, though, the county decided to regard Scott’s husband, Ridgeley Scott Sr., as the “aggrieved person” in the disappearance. “The medical examiner made it clear that she couldn’t communicate with us anymore,” a frustrated Panepinto says. For its part, the Delaware County District Attorney’s office declined to discuss the case.