Does this person know why woman wound up dead on NJ highway?
Authorities are looking for a person that they believe might be connected to their investigation of a woman who was found dead along the side of Route 1 on Christmas.
The body of Stephanie Carmody was found on the shoulder of the highway.
Police this week released a photo of the person they want to find. The individual was wearing a hoodie and black ski cap. Police did not disclose why they want to speak to this person.
The investigation into Carmody's death is ongoing and no arrests have been made. West Windsor police asked anyone with information to call them at 609-799-1222 or their anonymous tipline at 609-799-0452.
She was a daughter and a sister
Carmody had turned 31 just two days before her body was found late in the afternoon along the northbound lanes next to the former Holman Go Princeton car dealership.
She hadn't seen her family for six years.
"We've known for years that she had a drug addiction and a prostitution issue. My family here in Connecticut and the rest of our family in Rhode Island had tried to help for years, and then she just disappeared," her aunt, Maggie Carroll, told New Jersey 101.5.
"Last we knew she was in Massachusetts. We didn't even know where she was. We've been looking for her for six years."
A daughter, an aunt, a niece, a sister
Carroll, a truck driver who lives in Connecticut, said Carmody had blocked the family from her social media thwarting their attempts to get her help. She is upset that her niece is being portrayed as just a drug addict and prostitute.
"She was a daughter, an aunt, a niece, a sister," Carroll said. "Stephanie was the most caring, compassionate, funny little girl.
"Every summer I would go and pick up my sister's four kids. They would come to Connecticut for a month, month and a half at a time. They were very close to my children until this took over," Carroll said. "She was just a normal happy kid."
'I knew this phone call was going to come one day because of her life choice'
Carmody's life started going south when a boyfriend in Rhode Island got her hooked on heroin. Carroll moved her niece into her home but she refused help. Instead, Carmody stole from Carroll, her adoptive and birth mothers and her uncle before disappearing.
"I don't want to sound cold. I knew this phone call was going to come one day because of her life choices. But to be found outside on Christmas and her birthday was only the 23rd," Carroll said.
"I want as much information out there as possible to find out who dumped her on the side of the road like trash," Caroll said.
Does not believe her death was an overdose
Carroll does not believe her niece died of an overdose as she was a "seasoned heroin addict."
"With somebody who's been doing drugs for as many years as Stephanie, there's no way she would have accidentally overdosed. No way. It's like when you take antidepressant medications for years, you know exactly how many you're supposed to take," Carroll said.
"She was a seasoned heroin addict. It's sad to say but she was. And she was pushed into this by an ex-boyfriend. She never wanted to try these drugs and he put it into our system anyway."
West Windsor police have not disclosed a cause and manner of death pending a report from the Middlesex County Medical Examiner, which will likely take several weeks.
Carroll is also upset with those people who passed a body along the road and didn't stop. She's also upset with the derogatory comments made about Carmody on social media posts about her death.
"I don't see that person that they're posting in these pictures. I see my 10-year-old little niece laying on the side of the road and nobody stopped. That's what I see," Carroll said.
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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