Four-month search for missing woman comes to an end
Published Saturday, March 28, 2009 7:12PM EDT
The family and friends of Jessica Neilson are in mourning, after a body was discovered Friday morning in a car parked in an alley in St. Henri.
Neilson, a 25-year-old mother from Lasalle, had been missing since Dec. 8. She is believed to have been on her way to meet friends, after leaving her 2� -year-old daughter, Katrina, at home with her live-in boyfriend. She was driving a white four-dour 1994 Acura Integra.
At around 9:20 a.m. on Friday, a construction worker called police to report seeing a body in a car.
The car, which matched the description of Neilson's, was parked in an alley behind 3459 Notre Dame St. W., near the intersection of Greene Ave. and Workman St.
Alexandre Fournier said he saw noticed the woman in the car on Thursday, but didn't think anything of it.
"I thought she was sleeping," he said.
But by the next morning, when he noticed she hadn't moved, he approached the car to take a closer look.
The woman was slumped in the passenger seat with keys in her hand.
Police believe the body may have been there for months, leaving many wondering why no one noticed the abandoned car sooner.
"The car was probably under the snow, so that's probably why during the winter, nobody found the vehicle," Montreal police Const. Philippe Collins told CTV Montreal on Friday.
Police awaiting autopsy
Police have yet to confirm the identity of the victim, but say they have notified Neilson's father, Donald, about the discovery.
Donald Neilson has not spoken to the media since.
Police are calling the death suspicious, but say there were no obvious traces of violence on the body.
Police also say an autopsy will be performed in the coming days.
Outpouring of condolences
A Facebook group originally created to help in the search for Neilson has become a forum for people to express their condolences. More than 900 members have joined the group.
"I will never forget you. My busy little co-worker, friend and ray of sunshine," wrote one young woman.
"To the family and friends of Jessica, hopefully your heart has a little peace knowing she was found," wrote another member of the group.
On Friday evening, some of Neilson's friends and colleagues arrived at the scene after the white Acura was towed from the alley. They left flowers, candles, and cards, and a helium balloon that read "You're so very special."
"It's definitely a shocking discovery," said one woman. "We can only hope that now that we've found her ... there can be some peace for the family, and we can figure out what happened."
Police say they still have no leads and no suspects in the woman's death.
Neilson's boyfriend was questioned after her disappearance in December, but police later ruled him out as a suspect.