Karen Boren's body was found at a motel on Dec. 22. Police are unsure how her car ended up in Tampa.
The key to solving who killed Karen Boren may be in determining who drove her Ford LTD to downtown Tampa.
Her decomposed body was discovered last week in the vacant Monticello Motel on Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg. She was reported missing April 30, two days after partying at T's Pub, five blocks from the motel.
Authorities said Thursday that dental records indicate the body found at the Monticello was that of Boren.
Lead detective Ron Noodwang said Boren died from blunt trauma to the upper body and that she was slain in the motel room. She was in bed. Police also recovered her purse in the room.
Her killer may be more difficult to find because the murder happened about eight months ago, police said.
It remains unclear how Boren's white 1985 Ford LTD got to Tampa, or whether Boren drove it there.
Police said the car was at Boren's home at 200 72nd Ave. N when she left for the pub. The car was found in downtown Tampa on May 2 with its keys under the driver's seat.
Noodwang appealed to the public Thursday, asking anyone who could assist with backtracking her activities to April 28 to call (727) 892-5545.
Boren, 33, grew up in Wisconsin and moved to St. Petersburg in 1990. She worked part time for the St. Petersburg Times circulation department. She had a daughter, 3-year-old Kayla.
Investigators said Boren had a history of alcohol and drug abuse. She was arrested on drunken driving and domestic battery charges in 1996. Prosecutors dropped the battery charge.
Her family declined to discuss the case Thursday. "This is something that is just hard for us to take," said her mother, Patricia Boren.
Boren was last seen having a good time at T's Pub, singing karaoke and playing a little pool. She took a cab to the pub with her sister, Sandra Sawyer. Sawyer told police she left early while her sister stayed behind.
Others at the bar did not recall Boren leaving, though police said they think somebody might have given her a ride home.
She ended up at the motel at 1700 Fourth St. N. It has been vacant for a year and was recently purchased. The new owners were with a cleanup crew Dec. 22 when they found the body.
"We don't know if she was abducted and taken there," Sgt. Mike Puetz said. "We don't know if she went there voluntarily."
The babysitter who was caring for Boren's daughter reported her missing after she failed to come home.
_ Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report.