Police: body in park is missing, wandering woman
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (WSVN) -- Coral Springs Police have confirmed the body found at a park is that of missing woman Maria Claudia Murphy.
Coral Springs Police made the announcement early Friday afternoon. Coral Springs Police Lt. Joe McHugh said, though they have verified that the body is indeed that of the 45-year-old Coral Springs woman, many questions still linger. "Currently they are conducting the autopsy on it," he said of the body, as police try to determine a cause of death.
However, police said, they are confident this was the woman they had been searching for since March. "There was things found next to the body as well as on the body, that we were able to identify as Claudia Murphy's, that's why they contacted the Coral Springs Department to go out there," McHugh said. "It all adds up to this because we last saw her on Copans and Lyons Road on a northeast corner, and the location where she was found was approximately 300 yards northeast of where we last saw her."
The news that this was Murphy came a day after two hikers walking a trail at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek discovered a badly decomposed body in a wooded area. The hikers contacted Coconut Creek police, as the park falls in that department's jurisdiction.
The hikers reportedly already suspected the identity of the deceased. They told police they recognized some of the clothing of the missing woman, who lived nearby and whose case received much media attention since her disappearance several months ago.
Murphy disappeared on March 16. Family members said she left her house but never returned. They thought she may have been disoriented after taking medication for food poisoning. She was caught on surveillance video walking through several areas, including portions of Coral Springs and Margate. "It's all just bringing up our emotions back again," said her husband outside his home. "I mean, they just found her body."
Neighbors stopped by the home to offer condolences and support. "I can't imagine," said Dr. Sandra Frank. "I can only think he's devastated. You know, when you lose somebody it's difficult."
Coconut Creek Police, along with Coral Springs Police, both responded to the scene where the hikers found the mostly skeletal remains. "We got a call from two hikers that were in the woods," said Coconut Creek Police Chief Michael Mann, on Thursday afternoon. "They found a badly decomposed body of a person, and we responded back there."
The body was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office that evening for further investigation, and the announcement came that the body indeed belonged to Murphy, at about 12:30 p.m., the next day.
Police said there are a still a lot of questions in this death, so they are asking anyone with information on Murphy's disappearance and subsequent death to call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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