WALLINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The car of a 22-year-old New Jersey woman who has been missing since Thursday night has been pulled from the Passaic River and authorities said a body was found inside.
CBS2 video shows Devorah Stubin’s 1998 gray Mitsubishi Galant being lifted out of the water around 8 p.m. Saturday after it somehow wound up submerged in the river in Wallington.
“It is in fact a vehicle that has been missing from Passaic and there was a person in the vehicle,” said Wallington Police Capt. Kim Lucas.
“We sent divers into the water, ” said Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino. “They were able to grab the license plate and, sadly, it was determined that it’s the license plate of the young lady.”
It was devastating news for the volunteer searchers from the tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community.
“We are broken by it,” said volunteer Moshe Jacobitz. “It’s a close community, a small community. Everyone knows the family. Everyone is very heartbroken.”
Lucas said officers were led to the scene after getting a call about some property damage to a fence behind a funeral home.
“When the officer arrived, he felt that because there was some vehicle debris there, that possibly something occurred,” she said.
Just beyond the fence is a 15-foot embankment and the car was found in about 10 feet of water, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
The Passaic woman, who suffers from an epilepsy-like seizure disorder, disappeared Thursday night.
She was on her way to pick up her brother when she was stopped by Maywood police for driving without headlights at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. She told the officer she was lost and he tried to point her in the right direction.
But somehow Stubin wound up in nearby Wallington and apparently drove right though the fence behind the funeral home, her car plunging down the embankment and landing upside down in the river below, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
In an exclusive interview, funeral home owner Brian Warner told CBS2 he heard something at about 9:15 p.m. Thursday.
When asked by Conybeare if he thought that noise was a car going through the fence and into the river, Warner said, “Yes, I have no doubt.”
Warner said he looked around after hearing that noise Thursday night but didn’t notice the damaged fence until 3 p.m. Saturday.
Lucas said they have not yet determined exactly why the car went into the river.
“All we can do from here on in is expand our camera search and see if perhaps we can see the vehicle coming into the area to give us a better idea of when this occurred,” she said.
Police are awaiting official confirmation on the identity of the body.