Heiress' Body Found in River - NBC New York

Heiress' Body Found in River



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    The daughter of slain newspaper heiress Anne Scripps Douglas is believed to have jumped to her death from the same bridge as her stepfather after he brutally killed her mother 15 years ago.

    A body found Sunday in the Hudson River likely is that of a woman who jumped from the Tappan Zee Bridge last week, 15 years after her stepfather leaped to his death from the bridge following a brutal family killing, police said.

    State Police Sgt. Todd Parent said they believe the body belongs to Anne Morell Petrillo, a daughter of slain newspaper heiress Anne Scripps Douglas, the great-great-granddaugther of The Detroit News founder James E. Scripps.

    Witnesses saw the 38-year-old Petrillo, of Rye Brook, in Westchester County, stop her car on the bridge and jump on Thursday, police said. Petrillo left her identification and a note, but police have refused to describe the note. They have called her case a suicide.

    "Like with her mom, I hoped it didn't happen," Ann Rold, a friend of Morel Petrillo's mother, told the Journal News. "I'm just glad that they found her, but it's just so terribly sad."

    The Rockland County medical examiner's office was expected to make the official identification of the body, state police Investigator Joseph Becerra told The Journal News on Sunday.

    Petrillo's stepfather, Scott Douglas, leaped to his death from the bridge on New Year's Day 1994.

    Police later found that he had bludgeoned Scripps Douglas with a claw hammer the previous night in their home in Bronxville. Petrillo found her mother's bloodied body.

    Scripps Douglas, who was 47, also was a great-great-grandniece of E.W. Scripps, the founder of Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co., which owns newspapers and television stations.