Remains believed to be those of missing 20-year-old college student Jenni-Lyn Watson were found in Clay Central Park by law enforcement searchers, Onondaga County authorities announced Saturday. The remains were located about four miles from the young woman’s home, according to ABC News. She had returned to Liverpool, a suburban community of Syracuse, New York, just south of Clay, to be with her family for the Thanksgiving holiday on the previous Thursday, but had disappeared sometime on Friday, November 19, while her family was out.
“Logic and common sense tell us it is likely the remains of Ms. Watson,” Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said. He would not, however, discuss details of the investigation or disclose whether anyone of interest had been questioned with regard to the case.
The remains were transported to the chief medical examiner’s office in Syracuse for further investigation and identification. A cause of death determination is expected Saturday.
Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department took the lead in the investigation when they responded to initial missing persons call made by Jenni-Lyn Watson’s family Friday. They had returned home Friday to find the college student gone and her cell phone missing. They had found it uncharacteristic of her to leave without notifying family members that she was going somewhere. They also found her purse and wallet at the house.
After authorities learned of “activity” on the 20-year-old’s cell phone, they concentrated their search on an area in nearby Clay. While they searched the wooded area, investigators also began questioning family, friends, and neighbors in an attempt to discover Jenni-Lyn Watson’s last known whereabouts and perhaps identify anyone she may have been accompanying. Police had also traveled to Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, to see if anyone or anything at the college she attended might yield useful information in finding her or point toward what may have happened to her.
A massive local effort was launched to find the petite dance major as well. Thousands of fliers were printed and posted in the surrounding communities. A Facebook group page and a website were created online to facilitate finding the missing young woman.
If the remains are positively identified as those of the missing young woman and depending on the cause and manner of death, another search may be just beginning. A determination of homicide would open up a search for Jenni-Lyn Watson’s killer. Given the puzzling circumstances surrounding her disappearance and the location of the body, police most likely already suspect foul play.
Dean Schabner, “Jenni-Lyn Watson Search: Remains Found In Case Of Missing Ballerina,” ABCNews.go.com