MEDFORD -- The body of 61-year-old Barbara Novaes was found by police at her Medford home Monday morning after she was reported missing by her family. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said it's being investigated as a "suspicious death."
The home on Emery Street is near the Tufts University campus.
According to Ryan, Novaes' son called police at around 6:40 a.m. Monday to notify them that he could not find her. He told officers that he had last seen her at her home at 4:30 p.m. Sunday and he had believed at that time she left the house to go to a nail appointment.
"He reported that when he woke up this morning, the front door of the home was standing open. And he had seen that his mother's car was still there," Ryan said. "He said he had also located his mother's car keys, her phone and her purse."
Ryan said the body was found by a police officer around 8:30 a.m. inside a recycling container in the enclosed area under the porch.
"It's pretty startling, and it's sad," said neighbor Leslie Kramer. "Because you don't know if there are all kinds of mysteries, all kinds of questions."
The DA says there were no obvious signs of trauma, and an autopsy is set for Tuesday. Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn said Novaes was an active member at Grace Church in town.
Neighbors say Novaes often sat on her porch with her dog and was very friendly.
Police went door-to-door Monday night to see if anyone witnessed anything or had surveillance video.
"I moved to this area specifically because it is very safe. So it is a bit shocking," said neighbor Aubrey Vannasse.
Officers will continue to be in the area for the next several days to continue their investigation.
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