NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA - The body discovered Sunday in Northeast Philadelphia has positively been identified as Cassandra Johnston, a Bucks County woman who went missing three weeks ago after spending the night at a friend's house, according to the medical examiner's office.
Lower Southampton Police Chief John T. Krimmel told reporters that a Philadelphia Police Marine Unit found the body in Byberry Creek, approximately half a mile from where officers found Johnston's car on Saturday.
Johnston was reported missing three weeks ago after she spent the night at a friend's house on 12th and Vine streets in Philadelphia. She was last spotted driving a 2016 Ford Focus on I-95 towards the Vine Street Expressway on the morning of July 10th.
Family members say Johnston, a Feasterville resident, lost her cell phone the day before her disappearance and was unreachable.
Chief Krimmel said investigators believe Johnston was driving west on Woodhaven Road when she lost control of her car and careened into a culvert. She went approximately 30 feet in the air over a guardrail and crashed into a tree which launched her 49-yards through the sunroof, according to a preliminary investigation.
Police believe she landed in the culvert and was swept into a Byberry Creek during last week's intense rain and thunderstorms.
"The water where they found [the body] really wasn't all that deep," Krimmel said. "Monday we had a lot of water down there and that's what our theory is that the water moved her downstream."
Kevin Ryan, a private investigator contracted by the Johnston family, spotted the roof of Johnston's gray 2016 Ford Focus on Saturday while flying in a private aircraft above a wooded area near Woodhaven Road. He contacted Philadelphia police who assumed the investigation.
The accident investigation is being handled by the Philadelphia Police and it appears to be a tragic traffic accident, according to authorities.