Schenectady County

Body found in Menands is likely missing Schenectady woman

A body found wrapped in plastic in Menands on Tuesday is likely that of a missing Schenectady woman.
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A body found wrapped in plastic in Menands on Tuesday is likely that of a missing Schenectady woman, according to Albany County Coroner Timothy Cavanaugh.

The body was that of a middle-age female whose beheaded body was so badly decomposed that DNA tests must be done to determine her identity, Cavanaugh said this afternoon. He said there is a good possibility the body is that of Denise Hart, 43, a Schenectady woman who was last seen Nov 11.

A positive identification can not be made until DNA tests are final, however, he said.

“The body has not been positively identified. We are awaiting DNA results. This could take 10 to 12 days,” he said.

For now, the woman is being listed as a Jane Doe.

Cavanaugh would not release the cause of death, but said it has been ruled a homicide. He said the woman had been dead for at least several months and was very badly decomposed.

Hart, who lived in the Wade Lupe Apartments, was last seen at 7 a.m. Nov. 11 when she left a Schenectady group home where she worked with developmentally disabled adults. Police investigating Hart’s disappearance have said it was out of character for her to miss work and go nearly three weeks without contacting family or friends. Police were also given pause when they checked her apartment, two sources familiar with the investigation confirmed earlier, and found her mattress and bedding were missing.

Hart has a child who was not living with her at the time she disappeared, police have said, and is believed to have family in Pennsylvania.

The body was found wrapped in plastic late Tuesday afternoon on Clifford Road, near Route 378. Police received a call at 5 p.m. on Tuesday from a neighbor who complained of finding a possible dead animal behind an apartment house at 52 Clifford Road, near the state Department of Transportation garage.

Police Chief Michael O’Brien said there are varying accounts of how long the body had been in the woods. Residents had seen the plastic bag in the woods for a couple months and thought it was garbage, police said.

Colonie police forensic investigators are assisting Menands police in the investigation.

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