A series of random events both helped and hindered investigators in finding the body of a missing woman.
On Sunday, police finally found a Pennsylvania woman who went missing last month. Unfortunately, Cassandra Johnston (above) was already dead — and had been the entire three weeks of searching.
Johnston disappeared on July 10 after driving to meet a friend in Philadelphia. When she failed to return, with her silver 2016 Ford Focus having vanished without a trace after leaving her friend’s place, family members reported her missing. For weeks, police and volunteers searched for the 26-year-old, but to no avail.
So the family hired a private investigator, Kevin Ryan, who caught a break in the case on Saturday when he flew a helicopter over her likely route home. In a heavily wooded area off Woodhaven Road, Ryan spotted Cassandra’s car — which was apparently only visible because recent tornadoes in the area had torn down some of the thick foliage in the treetops above.
According to police, the dense area would have rendered the car invisible indefinitely if it weren’t for the recent tornadoes. But the mystery wasn’t solved yet: her car was empty. The following day, Lower Southampton Township Police finally found Cassandra’s body a half a mile away near Byberry Creek. So what happened?
Officials believe she lost control of her car on a curved ramp coming off the elevated freeway, then was ejected through the sunroof when her car launched through the air and hit the top of a tree on the way down. The heavy flooding in the area then likely took the body into the creek.
Police Chief Ted Krimmel explained:
“Went airborne, up and over the guardrail. She crashed into a tree, probably about 30 feet in the air. We believe she was ejected from the car through the sunroof… And the place where the car landed… it was 49 yards from the roadway to where her car landed. You couldn’t see it from the street or the air.”
The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office found that Johnson died from blunt impact trauma, and the manner of death has been ruled accidental. Police do not suspect any foul play. Chief Krimmel noted death was probably instantaneous:
“I can’t believe that she would survive that accident.”
Before they received the devastating news, the family launched a GoFundMe page to erect a billboard to aid in the search, which managed to raise more than $11,000.
Neshaminy Kids Club — where Johnston worked as a lifeguard, according to her obituary — described her as “a beautiful person, whose presence brightened up the room.” Their Facebook post read:
“Her kindness and spirit was infectious. It has been our pleasure to watch her grow into the compassionate and remarkable educator she was becoming. She loved to spend most of her time teaching kids various types of physical education games. Miss Casey truly loved her job, and she was always looking for new ways to improve our program.”
So sad. Our hearts go out to her loved ones.
Source: Read Full Article