The body of a New Jersey woman who has been missing since December has been found, five months later, inside her car in a parking lot.
Shanaya Coley, 24, of Paterson, New Jersey, was last seen on December 5 and was reported missing amidst fears that she had been abducted while inside her own grey Nissan Altima.
Officers were called to a Paterson apartment complex’s parking lot by concerned citizen Wilfredo Morales, who reported an unattended car on Sunday morning, according to ABC 7.
Shanaya Coley, 24, was believed to be carjacked or abducted on the way to work in December. Her body was found five months later inside her car in a parking lot .
Upon arrival, officers realized the car was Shanaya’s grey Altima and saw what looked like a body in the backseat.
On Sunday, Morales said he parked his van next to the Altima, as he’d been doing for the past five months, and started ‘smelling something really funky.’
He thought it was a dead cat at first, then realized that the smell was coming from the Altima. ‘I saw a lot of flies, all flies around it,’ he said.
He peeked into the car and as soon as he saw the white sheet covering the body, he called the police.
Police responding to a report of an unattended car in an apartment complex’s parking lot realized that the car was actually Shanaya’s missing car
Shanaya’s car had been parked in the parking lot for the past five months
When police approached the car, they saw a body covered with a white sheet in the backseat
Although the medical examiner has not yet positively identified the body in the car as belonging to Shanaya, authorities and family and friends believe it to be the missing woman.
On Sunday afternoon, Shanaya’s family posted an update on the Find Shanaya Coley Facebook page stating: ‘Good Morning to everyone on a mission to Find Shanaya. Your prayers and support are 100% appreciated. Right now we wanted to let everyone know Shanaya’s car has been located. The family appreciates everyone’s thoughts and prayers but this will be the only update we will be providing for right now. Again, thank you all for spreading the word.’
Shanaya, the single mother of a four-year-old boy, was last seen leaving her apartment for her shift at a health facility in nearby Wyckoff, New Jersey, on December 5 at about 11pm.
Shortly after her disappearance, Shanaya’s father, Willie Coley, told CBS New York that ‘there was blood in a couple place’ near where her car had been parked, but that it wasn’t clear whether the blood was his daughter’s blood.
Shanaya disappeared after leaving her apartment to go to work at a health facility
Although her body has not yet been officially identified, authorities and her relatives believe that the body inside her car is, in fact, Shanaya’s body She was a single mother to a four-year-old boy, who has not yet been told his mother has died
Authorities believed that Shanaya might’ve been either kidnapped or carjacked.
Shanaya’s mother, Rachel Martin, told ABC 7 that it is a relief to finally have her daughter back in some way.
‘My heart is dead, Shanaya, but it’s okay. I know you’re with me. I don’t have to tell you I love you, you know,’ Martin said.
Shanaya’s parents have not yet told her son that his mother is dead.
Martin said that she shows the child Shanaya’s picture. He talks to it and ‘always tells her he loves her.’
Anybody with information about the incident are asked to call the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-877-370-PCPO.
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