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Monday, May 16, 2011

Sarah Townsend: Death ruled a drowning, foul play not suspected

Sarah Townsend: Death ruled a drowning, foul play not suspected

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) -- Preliminary autopsy results confirmed Friday that the body found at Green Acres Park in Burlington Township was that of 18-year-old Sarah Townsend who police say drowned; there was no sign of foul play.

Sarah's family and boyfriend are grieving the loss of a beautiful young woman who police believe may have taken her own life.

Her mother, Laurie Townsend, thinks otherwise. "In my heart, I feel somebody knows something or somebody saw something and they need to step up," she said.

Laurie has continued to say she doesn't believe her daughter would try to harm herself and said Sarah was in good spirits days before she disappeared. However, police have said they don't suspect foul play and were concerned from the beginning that she may have tried to harm herself.

"We don’t believe that [Sarah was suicidal], partly because she was going to two proms, she was happy that morning,” Townsend’s aunt Colleen Makovicz said. “She bought two dresses, she was discussing with her mom what hairdos to wear.”

A massive search at Green Acres Park in Burlington Township began Monday when her car was found abandoned. Her cell phone and wallet were left inside and her door was ajar. Her boyfriend found her car and called police.

Police dogs picked up a scent Friday afternoon during an additional search and led investigators to an area of Sherman's Pond where her body was recovered, police said.

"There were no signs of trauma to her body and no indications that foul play contributed to her death, concluded Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood, who performed the autopsy," according to a statement released tonight by Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi and Burlington Township Public Safety Director Walter J. Corter.

Sarah's boyfriend has been attacked online. The Administrator of the Help Find Sarah Townsend Facebook page posted:
"For all of those people who were posting the most horrible accusations about Sarah's boyfriend on Facebook, this is exactly why people shouldn't jump to conclusions and point fingers. RIP Sarah and my deepest, most heartfelt condolences to all who knew and loved Sarah."
It has become common for people jump to conclusions in missing persons' and other crime cases, making online accusations with little to nothing to substantiate them. This serves to add grief to an already grieving family and in this case, to Sarah's boyfriend.

Lori Gallihugh Nims posted to the Facebook page saying:
"So sad. Idiot people have nothing better to do with their time but to accuse. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone . Don't judge anyone unless you know without a doubt that they are guilty. Let the tables be turned on them and see how they all squack!!"
Colleen Campbell said:
"Right now it is all speculation and we should leave it to the investigators now to seek the truth and disclose the facts. In the meantime, pray for her family whom lost the love of their life!"
Debbie Bucci said:
"Has anyone stopped to think maybe a young girl decided to skip school and spend some time with her boyfriend. Maybe she went to the pond while waiting for him and slipped or something. We dont have a clue what happened or what she was thinking. I just cant help imagining the pain her family and true friends must be in. RIP Sarah"
"The final autopsy determination is pending the results of toxicology tests, which will take several weeks," the statement said.
Police on Thursday said they had reason to believe Townsend was contemplating suicide when she disappeared. The statement released tonight made no conclusions about the nature of her death other than to say she drowned and there was no sign of foul play.

1 comment:

  1. Well I don't know much about this case but it doesn't add up. Why would she go to a lake and not tell anyone. Then go into the lake? It's unclear what she was wearing but she left with regular close on. Who goes swimming in a lake by themselves in regular clothes. In may, in new jersey it's oftly cold and not really warm enuf to hit the beaches or swimming pool. I can only speculate but someone must have wanted her dead. God only knows who and what actually happend. If I had to guess I would say she was given like a date rape drug and someone could've suffocated her, then put her in the lake. Idk but blessings go out to her family.