Sarah Townsend, 18, Missing in New Jersey: Car Found Abandoned in Park
Monday, May 16, 2011 at 9:18 am
|Sarah's car was found abandoned with the engine running and her purse inside|
The two were known to hang out a Green Acres Park, which includes a series of nature preserves along the Delaware River. Sarah's car was parked in a dirt lot overlooking a pond. There was no blood or sign of a struggle. But her keys and purse were left in the car, which is always a bad sign.
And in an eerie similarity to the recent murder of Krista Dittmeyer, the car was left running with the door open. Police dogs have been unable to pick up her scent, suggesting she may have left in another car.
Divers searched the pond, but came up empty. A search of the woods by police and firefighters also turned up nothing. Helicopters with infrared sensors failed to find her.
Her family describes her as a happy-go-lucky girl who wasn't dealing with any hardships or trauma. Her mother also says Sarah was in good spirits when she left for school that morning.
|Police say Sarah may have wanted to hurt herself, but they won't say why they believe that|
"We have concerns that she might have wanted to harm herself," Police Director Walter Corter told NJ.com. But so far the cops won't say why they believe that, nor will they say whether Sarah left a suicide note or not.
If she was prepared to take her own life, she wasn't behaving as such in the hours before she went missing. Her boyfriend talked to her a number of times by phone in the three hours between when she left for school and when he reported her disappearance. Police say he's fully cooperated with their investigation.
Sarah's family also doesn't believe she'd hurt herself. "We don't believe that, partly because she was going to two proms, she was happy that morning," says her aunt, Colleen Makovicz. "She bought two dresses, she was discussing with her mom what hairdos to wear."
|It now appears that Sarah committed suicide, since police have found no signs of foul play or trauma|
She was discovered drown in a pond in the park where her boyfriend found her car abandoned with the engine running. Though an autopsy has yet to be performed, detectives say they've found no signs of trauma or foul play.
Police now say that Sarah's boyfriend discovered her car after she called to tell him to meet her at the park. Though detectives aren't disclosing the complete note she left in the car, it apparently includes the words "I'm sorry."
After her body was found, the cops had to actually tackle the boyfriend to keep him away from her body. Sarah was found after a special New Jersey State Trooper canine unit was brought into the search. Police say they had to wait for the larger searches earlier in the week to die down so the dogs weren't distracted by all of those people.
"She's up there in the castle," Roy Townsend, Sarah's father, told reporters. "She's not down here slumming it with me, so that's good. She's got her wings, and I love her and thank you Jesus."
See our last story from the Missing Persons file: Kelly Rothwell Disappears in Florida; Boyfriend David Perry Won't Help Police.
Tags: New Jersey