Body found in Scalp Level

Windber Police and Coroner Jeff Lees meet near the scene where a body was discovered Aug. 5, 2019, in Scalp Level, Cambria County.

WINDBER – A daylong search for a missing Scalp Level woman led to the discovery of a decomposed body in the Mine 40 neighborhood Monday – but investigators had not yet determined an identity as of 8:30 p.m.

Cambria County Coroner Jeff Lees said a police K9 being used in the search found the body on the ground in a wooded area about 30 yards from Richland Avenue at approximately 5:20 p.m.

Lees said the matter is being viewed as suspicious until proven otherwise, and that an autopsy was planned for Tuesday to determine the cause and manner of death, as well as obtain a positive ID.

An FBI crime scene mapping unit was called to assist at the scene, he indicated.

“Anytime we’re handling a situation like this, we treat it as suspicious ... until we know more,” Lees said. “We’ve only got one opportunity to do a proper scene investigation and that’s what we’re doing.”

For now, the main goal is to identify the body and then notify any family, he added. 

Lees confirmed the body was in the “advanced stages of composition” but did not offer an estimate to how long it might have been at the scene, and declined to provide any other details about the body due to the early stages of the investigation.

Windber and state police processed the scene Monday, he said, and Scalp Level-Paint firefighters also assisted at the scene, directing traffic away from an area that was closed off by yellow caution tape late into the evening.

A group of Scalp Level-Paint firefighters and law enforcement officials have been searching the area in recent days for Wendy Wright, a 51-year-old Scalp Level woman who was last seen in the Windber area on July 29.

A K9 unit was being used to assist in the search, Lees said.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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