East Penn Press

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Missing Salisbury woman’s body found in Lower Macungie

Thursday, September 21, 2017 by Paul Willistein AND DEBBIE GALBRAITH pwillistein@tnonline.com dgalbraith@tnonline.com in Local News

Nearly one month after a woman was reported missing from a home for senior citizens in Salisbury Township, the search is over.

Audrey Penn, 78, was pronounced dead 3:44 p.m. Sept. 17 by Deputy Coroner Jack Fliter after her body was found in a drainage ditch in the area of Hamilton Boulevard and Kressler Road, Lower Macungie Township.

Initially identified as Jane Doe by Fliter, she was positively identified as Penn in a news release to the media 9 p.m. Sept. 18 following testing earlier in the day.

An autopsy was performed Sept. 19 to determine the cause of death.

Penn, who had Alzheimer’s disease, lived in Woodland Terrace at the Oaks Senior Living Community, Salisbury Township.

She was last seen Aug. 23.

Salisbury Township Chief of Police Allen W. Stiles updated township commissioners at their Sept. 14 meeting on the progress of the search.

Stiles said the search continued, again with use of a drone, Sept. 14, in the wooded area east of the personal-care facility in the vicinity of Fish Hatchery Road.

“We had several dogs there to track, including a special unit with the state police,” Stiles said.

Township police have continued to be in touch with Penn’s family, Stiles noted.

Penn’s family and members of the church they attend have held prayer vigils and distributed posters to aid in the search. Penn was last seen wearing green pants and a green and purple flowered shirt.

The personal care home’s parent company, WoodBine Senior Living, LLC, a property management and consulting company, offered a $10,000 reward, to locate Penn.

Woodland Terrace provided a statement to The Press Sept. 19:

“The entire Woodland Terrace community is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Audrey Penn and the circumstances under which Audrey was found. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Audrey’s family.

“Our community was committed to bringing Audrey home safely and joined individuals throughout the region, from as far away as Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, in raising awareness of the search. We are grateful to the Salisbury Police Department, especially Sgt. Donald Sabo and Det. Kevin Kress, the Pennsylvania State Police, as well as all first responders and volunteers who searched for Audrey.

“Woodland Terrace has been working with, and will continue to provide, law enforcement with all requested information. All questions concerning the investigation should be directed to the Pennsylvania State Police. We can not provide further comment at this time.

“Locating Audrey Penn had been our top priority since August 23rd. We continue to test our systems and review resident safety and security measures to ensure that all technology and processes continue to work effectively; the health, safety, and well-being of every resident always is our number one priority. We will remind our residents and their families that mental health and spiritual counselors are available to all residents, families, and the local community, at this difficult time.”

In a statement on Facebook following the positive identification of Penn, Sgt. Don Sabo said, “The Salisbury Township Police Department mourns the loss of Audrey Penn. Command staff were called to this scene yesterday and today the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office confirmed the findings. We give thoughts and prayers to her family in this time of need and send thoughts to everyone that has helped us in the past few weeks. Thank you everyone for your prayers, thoughts and support.”

In addition to the coroner’s office and the Salisbury Township Police Department, this death is being investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police.

If you have information regarding this investigation, call 911, or Sgt. Donald Sabo or Det. Kevin Kress of the Salisbury Police Department at 610-797-1447.