Body of woman who was missing for almost 6 years found in car submerged in NJ river

A body found in a submerged car in the Salem River Thursday has been identified as Vanessa Smallwood, a Maple Shade woman reported missing in January 2014.

SALEM, N.J. – A body found in a submerged car here Thursday was a New Jersey woman reported missing almost six years ago.

Vanessa Smallwood, who was 46 at the time of her disappearance, was identified in a statement from New Jersey State Police.

Smallwood was a Maple Shade resident, according to the statement.

However, her disappearance also was reported in 2014 by Burlington Township police, and an FBI missing-persons notice asked people with information to contact the Burlington Township department.

Smallwood was last seen at a dry cleaner’s store in Cherry Hill on Jan. 27, 2014, according to the FBI’s missing-persons notice.

It said Smallwood was driving a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country van.

The woman’s cellphone “recorded a ping” at about 10:20 a.m. in Clayton.

“Since that time there has been no activity from the victim, to include her credit/debit cards,” the missing-persons notice said.

A description of the Smallwood’s belongings included a silver wedding band.

Burlington Township police posted an online appeal for the public’s help in finding Smallwood on March 3, 2014.

That notice said Smallwood had been reported missing by family members on Feb. 6, 2014.

Smallwood’s remains were found around noon Thursday by commercial divers removing debris from the Salem River about 40 miles south of Cherry Hill, state police said.

State police removed the car from the river.

Smallwood’s remains were taken to the Southern Regional Coroner’s Office pending an autopsy.

“There is no additional information available at this time,” police said Friday night.

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