A private investigator finally found her car — but it was empty.
A Pennsylvania woman who went missing three weeks ago has been found dead.
Cassandra Johnston, 26, vanished on July 10 after driving to meet a friend in Philadelphia.
Worried family members reported her missing when she failed to return, her silver 2016 Ford Focus having vanished without a trace after leaving her friend’s home.
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Police and volunteers searched for weeks but could find no sign of her, prompting the family to hire a private investigator; it wasn’t until he flew a helicopter over her likely route home on Saturday did the case finally get a break.
He spotted her car in a heavily wooded area off Woodhaven Road; according to police recent tornados in the area had torn down some of the thick foliage in the treetops above, in an area that would have otherwise rendered the car invisible indefinitely.
But the car was empty; it wasn’t until the following day that police finally found her body, a distance away near Byberry Creek.
Piecing together the mystery, Lower Southampton Township Police believe she may have lost control of her car on a curved ramp coming off the elevated freeway; the car then launched through the air, hitting the top of a tree, and ejecting her clear through the sunroof.
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The heavy flooding in the area then likely carried the body into the creek.
“Went airborne, up and over the guardrail. She crashed into a tree, probably about 30 feet in the air,” Police Chief Ted Krimmel said. “We believe she was ejected from the car through the sunroof.”
“And the place where the car landed… it was 49 yards from the roadway to where her car landed. You couldn’t see it from the street or the air.”
Investigators do not believe there was any foul play; Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, found Johnson died from blunt impact trauma, and the manner of death has been ruled accidental.
“I can’t believe that she would survive that accident,” Chief Krimmel lamented.
The family had managed to raise more than $11,000 through GoFundMe to erect a billboard to aid in the search, before they received the devastating news.
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