When the body of Anneka Di Lorenzo washed up by Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps in Southern California, investigators believed it was someone quite young.
Only later were the remains determined to be those of the 58-year-old former model and actress who once aspired to be "the sexiest woman in the world."
Anneka Di Lorenzo, the 1975 Penthouse Pet of the Year, was found earlier this year in a restricted area of the USMC base with her neck and back broken.
What investigators are struggling to determine is how.
After becoming Pet of the Year, she acted in Caligula and other films. She dated Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, who she sued for sexual harassment.
She became a nursing assistant after her stint in Hollywood, but she had a history of mental health problems, including paranoia, and was on medications.
An autopsy found no drugs in her body, however.
Born Anneka Vasta, she was found on rocky sand about a mile south of where her car was recovered. Her Madza was parked overlooking a scenic vista, but not one from which she could have jumped to the water beneath."The unanswered question that we have is how she got from her vehicle to the water," NCIS agent Rachel McGranaghan tells the
"We know her life ended in the water, in some circumstance, we just don't know how."
On January 2, two days before her body was found, Anneka rented a room at a Motel 6. There's no evidence she actually used the room, however.
Inside her 2001 Mazda 626 sedan were signs of trauma. A woman's leopard-print blouse and a sports bra, stained with blood, were wrapped in a plastic bag.
A steak knife covered with Vasta's blood lay on the passenger floorboard. There were slashes on Vasta's wrist, but not deep enough to kill her.
Family members say that Di Lorenzo had a daughter in college whom she spoke with every day, and she would not have committed suicide.
They speculate someone may have killed her.
As Vasta's sister, Susan Thoreson, tells the Union-Tribune: "I think something happened when Anneka couldn't maybe fend for herself."