The body of a young woman murdered as she walked home on an unlit riverside footpath was found by a jogger, police have revealed.
The grim discovery was made close to the Madejski Stadium in Reading, Berkshire, on Monday night.
The victim, thought to be 19 years old, suffered multiple stab wounds shortly after leaving the Reading Gate Retail Park, a source added.
Her handbag was found on the path, next to the River Kennet, shortly after her body was discovered at 8.30pm.
A post-mortem examination is taking place at a local hospital.
The victim's family has been informed and she is expected to be formally identified later.
Superintendent Jim Weems, area commander for Reading with Thames Valley Police, said they were "keeping an open mind" about the motive for her murder.
He told a press conference at Reading police station: "We believe that the victim may have been walking home from work at the time of the incident. A post-mortem is taking place. We can therefore not speculate on the cause of her death or the nature of her injuries at this time."
The area is popular with dog walkers, who described the stretch of footpath, under the A33 dual carriageway, as dangerous to walk down at night.
Mr Weems urged any potential witnesses to come forward with information.