Battle Ground woman's death still puzzling

Police believe Tatyana Tupikova was run down as she walked, but they need info

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance

Published:

Updated: May 26, 2012, 1:10 PM

 

Friends, co-workers and others who knew Tatyana Tupikova are waiting for more information on what happened to the 22-year-old woman whose body was found off state Highway 503 earlier this month.

A passer-by reported seeing a woman's body around 3 p.m. May 11 in a ditch off the east side of Northeast 117th Street between Eaton Boulevard and Main Street in Battle Ground. The following day, Battle Ground police identified the body as Tupikova's and said they believed she died after a hit-and-run.

The Clark County Medical Examiner's Office determined Tupikova died as the result of blunt-force trauma.

A witness reported seeing Tupikova walking around 9 p.m. May 9, in the area where her body was later found, city spokeswoman Bonnie Gilberti said. Gilberti would not say which direction Tupikova was seen walking.

Police have received tips from the community but need more, Gilberti said.

"That's the focus now," she said of community involvement. "Anyone who thinks they might know something, even if they're not sure, needs to let us know."

Police haven't shared any information with family or friends other than to say they are still looking into the case, said Roseann Pruitt, friend and co-worker.

"We really have no idea, which is really hard," she said. "We want to know what happened. None of it makes sense."

She's puzzled that nobody reported seeing Tupikova's body until two days after she was last seen, especially considering she was found along a busy street.

"I drive that road at 5:30 a.m. in the morning to go

to work and it is constantly busy," Pruitt said. "There is no way that nobody saw that happen."

Carol Helser, executive director of Mallard Landing, an assisted-living center where Tupikova last worked, said staff members had professional grief counselors on site Thursday.

"Everyone seems to be coping as well as they possibly can at this point," she said.

Pruitt and a few of Tupikova's other friends organized a fundraiser at the Battle Ground Burgerville on Wednesday. Pruitt estimated the three-hour event raised about $500 in proceeds from food sales plus some cash donations. Pruitt didn't see any of Tupikova's family attend but said many residents and co-workers from Mallard Landing were there.

"We were happy with the turnout," she said. "The dining room was constantly full. That was pretty nice to see."

All money raised will go to a memorial fund for Tupikova, which has been established at US Bank.

Yo Factory, a frozen dessert business in Battle Ground, also set up a donation box for the Tupikova family and will match every dollar up to $1,000, an employee said.

Ray Legendre of The Columbian contributed to this report.