WEST MILFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A gruesome discovery in a New Jersey reservoir could be the key to solving a mystery that began five years ago on Easter Sunday.
A West Milford police dive team doing a routine practice drill found a decomposed body inside a Toyota Camry at the bottom of the Monksville Reservoir in Passaic County around 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Police have not identified the body or determined how long it was in the water, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.
The Medical Examiner’s Office was conducting an autopsy Thursday to identify the body and determine the cause of death.
The mud-caked car was submerged in about 18 feet of water; its front windshield and hood were smashed, police said.
The plate on the car matches a vehicle driven by 49-year-old Cathy Ann DeBono of Oakland, N.J., who was last seen on March 23, 2008. Her husband said the mother of two left without her wallet or cellphone.
Since her disappearance, friends have struggled to find answers.
“Everybody’s heartfelt about it. What can you say, you’re like, ‘She just up and disappeared, abandoned the kids, what’s going on?'” neighbor Bob Holland said.
“I didn’t sleep the whole night,” neighbor Nataly Dmitruk said. “I thought of her all the time. I prayed for the kids to be strong because it’s very hard.”
At the time of DeBono’s disappearance, police said there was no reason to suspect foul play.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating and neighbors hoped that the discovery would bring closure to the family.
“I think this will bring closure for them. I hope the best for the family,” Holland told CBS 2.
A man who answered the door a DeBono’s house would not comment.
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