MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The family of a North Massapequa woman is demanding answers after the 60-year-old’s body was found outside a vacant Long Island home on Valentine’s Day.
Irene Luetje’s body was found by contractors about five miles from her apartment in the front yard of a Sandy-damaged home on Ocean Avenue last Thursday, police said.
There were no signs of trauma and Leutje’s purse was next to her body with her credit cards, cash and driver’s license still inside, police said. Her car was still parked in the driveway of her apartment.
“Everything right now is a mystery to us,” Nassau County Detective Lt. John Azzata said Wednesday. “What she would be doing there? Is it possible she succumbed to a serious illness at that point and was looking for help? That’s a possibility. Right now, everything’s a possibility. We do our best work when we have the public’s input.”
Her family said she had no health problems and said her death is a complete shock.
“The police say no foul play,” said Luetje’s sister Lorraine Hauser. “We say something happened.”
Luetje was known by friends to take long walks. It’s about five miles between her home and where her body was found, but Azzata said Luetje was wearing silver ballet slippers — unusual footwear for someone going for a long walk.
“Here she is five to seven miles from home, no hat, no scarf, no gloves, coat off, wearing ballerina slippers,” Hauser said.
Luetje worked as a secretary at Farmingdale State College and lived alone in an apartment in a private house in North Massapequa, police said.
The owner of the home told police she last saw Luetje on Jan. 6. Relatives filed a missing persons report on Jan. 12.
“She was a good woman,” Hauser said. “It shouldn’t have happened this way.”
Luetje’s family is asking the public for help, begging anyone who knows or may have seen something to come forward.
Police in Nassau County are waiting for full autopsy and toxicology test results to find out how Luetje died. Her family said the last clue of her whereabouts is surveillance video from a CVS drugstore in North Massapequa on Jan. 7.
Luetje was a poet. Farmingdale State College said it will rename its multicultural college poetry award in her memory.
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