Body Found in NY Woods Could Be Missing Minister: Police

Police have found a body in a wooded New York area believed to be the remains of a 65-year-old minister who went missing in July.

Ethel Monroe wandered from her Yonkers home July 7 dressed in church clothes, according to her daughter Daqueen Monroe. The older woman had been struggling with cognitive issues, and also had ovarian cancer.

Surveillance video had showed Ethel Monroe wandering in front of Pizza Pizza on Warburton Avenue in Yonkers. Wearing a dress, jacket, hat and flip-flops, and clutching a purse, Ethel takes a seat on the bench in front of the restaurant. She appears confused and leaves after 27 seconds.

When she left, she was allegedly spotted four more times by people across Westchester County, from Yonkers to Elmsford. Yonkers Police Chief William Cave said bloodhounds tracked a scent to the park near Ardsley.

The park had been searched by officers on ATVs, in helicopters and on foot.

Nothing was found until this week, when a man looking for rare glass in the park discovered the woman's purse containing her ID and her shoes.

On Thursday, police discovered the badly decomposed remains in a wooded area about a quarter-mile north of the park. The remains were on an island that had been under water, and police say that may have hindered the recovery.

"The island is submerged at times, depending on the water level and the flow of the river," said Westchester County Sheriff George Longworth. "Today, because it hasn't rained for several days, the water level seems to be down and the remains appeared above the water line." 

Police cannot yet say what caused her death or whether foul play is suspected. The medical examiner must confirm the identity of the body.

Roseanne Colletti contributed to this report. 

Contact Us