SALEM CITY — The person found inside a submerged vehicle in the Salem River on Thursday has been identified as a woman who went missing in 2014.

The body of Vanessa Smallwood, 52, of Maple Shade, was found inside the vehicle. Investigators have not released other details about the case, including whether they know how the vehicle ended up in the river or the cause of Smallwood's death.

Smallwood was reported as a missing person on Jan. 27, 2014. She was last seen at a cleaners in Cherry Hill after dropping off her husband while driving a 2005 Chrysler Town & Country, according to an FBI Missing Persons report. When her husband came out of the cleaners, she was gone, police said.

Her phone was last pinged at 10:22 a.m. that day near Broad Street in Clayton, about a 40-minute drive on Route 40 from the location of the river from where she was pulled Thursday.

There was no activity on her credit or debit cards, investigators said at the time.

Reports at the time of her disappearance said Smallwood had a psychiatric condition and that she was on leave from her job at Philadelphia International Airport.

State Police investigators on Friday had not yet identified the car that was pulled from the river. Salem County Prosecutor John Lenahan told NJ.com on Thursday that the car was "crushed" and "indescribable."

State Police said divers from Walker Diving Underwater Construction Company were removing debris from the base of the Salem River in the area of West Broadway Road when they observed what appeared to be human remains in a submerged car.

 

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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