Body found in nature preserve

NEW PALESTINE — Early investigations suggest a dead body found Thursday afternoon in a public nature preserve was dumped in the area, police said.

A woman’s body was spotted near the edge of a wooded area in the 1600 block of South County Road 600W in New Palestine by a motorist driving past the area around 1 p.m. So far, investigators said they have been unable to determine who the woman is or how she died. An autopsy has been scheduled for today.

Investigators said they have not declared the death a homicide but said they haven’t ruled anything out — including foul play.

“All possibilities are on the table at this time,” Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.

A driver passing by the Jacob Schramm Nature Preserve on South County Road 600W in New Palestine saw the woman’s body from the roadway and called 911, police said. There was no visible trauma to the body at the scene, investigators said; they are hoping autopsy results will reveal more.

Nothing was found with the body, but tracks could be seen in the gravel drive of the preserve, police said.

County Road 600W between county roads 100S and 200S was closed until just before 5 p.m. while police collected evidence at the scene. School buses from the nearby New Palestine School Corp. were rerouted, causing some children to arrive home later than usual.

Dan Sweeney, who lives across the street from the nature reserve, was home when police arrived at the scene. Sweeney said once officers drew his attention to the area, he could see the body from his living room window. He heard nothing prior to police showing up outside.

Sweeney called the park a public nuisance. People often use the area to drop off animals they’ve trapped or killed, he said.

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.