MAYS LANDING, N.J. (CBS) - Atlantic County Prosecutor Theodore Housel announced at a press conference on Thursday the search for a missing mother of a four-year-old boy is over.
Housel also confirmed what began as a missing persons investigation of the Egg Harbor Township mother has now become a murder mystery his office hopes to solve with the public’s help.
“Please come forward. Now is the time to help solve this matter,” Housel said.
Investigators are still trying to figure out who shot 19-year-old Nadirah Ruffin and disposed of her duct taped and handcuffed body in the Schuylkill River.
Police recovered the badly decomposed body on Tuesday. On Wednesday, using dental records, the medical examiner identified the body as Ruffin.
The family’s attorney, James Leonard, Jr. told Eyewitness News, “They’re very devastated. I mean clearly they were hoping for a different ending.”
According to police, Ruffin was at her cousin’s Atlantic City home when four masked intruders abducted her at gunpoint on March 26th.
At Thursday’s press conference, Housel used a map to show the body was found in Fairmount Park. Housel explained, however, it could have been deposited almost two miles further up the river from the point of discovery.
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Authorities say they don’t know how long the body may have been in the water but ask anyone in the Philadelphia area who saw something suspicious to call the police.
“Don’t come to a conclusion it won’t be helpful. Let us come to that conclusion,” Housel added.
Authorities say because their investigation is continuing, they will not comment on a possible motive or any suspects.
They did note the car used in this crime could be a light-colored Hyundai or a Ford Focus type of car with New Jersey tags.
Anyone with information involving this and other serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page.
You can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/.
The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the resonsible individuals in this case.
Reported by Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3