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Body found near river

  • Sharon Weaver
    Sharon Weaver
Published January 06. 2010 05:00PM

The body of a Weissport woman, who has been reported missing since Nov. 4, 2009, may have been found.

Slatington police, along with state police and the Lehigh County coroner's office, said the remains of a body of a woman near a Lehigh River bank in the borough that was found late Tuesday morning may be that of Sharon Weaver, 55. Weaver was reported missing after she was last seen leaving the Boatyard Bar in Franklin Township.

Deputy coroner Paul Hoffman said it has not been officially determined that the body found is that of Weaver, but that "we're presumptively believing" that it is the missing woman.

According to reports the body was partially clothed and that the clothing generally matched the blue jeans and gray sweat shirt that Weaver was reportedly wearing the night she disappeared.

Hoffman said an autopsy was scheduled and that his office has secured dental records of Weaver to use in making an identification.

Slatington Police Chief Dave Rachman said the remains were found about 11 a.m. and recovered from the water in the afternoon. The body was found by county workers who were in the area doing safety patrols near the river and in the area of the SR873 overpass.

Weaver resided with Richard (Sonny) Kern, in Weissport. He and Weaver were together at the bar along Canal Road the night she disappeared. She left the bar before Kern. Kern told investigators he expected to see Weaver when he got home but she was not there. He started calling friends in the morning to see if anyone knew where she was. No one had seen or heard from her since the night she left the bar.

Family members were concerned about Weaver because of her medical condition. They told police that Weaver took medication for epilepsy and had high blood pressure.

Extensive searches were conducted for the woman. Almost daily searches were made by volunteers of the entire area in the hopes of finding Weaver safe. One search was conducted by the Gilbert American Legion.

A member of a paranormal group also got involved in the search for Weaver. The woman visited the bar, walked the towpath the victim used and met with Kern at the couple's apartment in an attempt to find Weaver. She was also given Weaver's keepsakes to help her in the search.

Rachman said members of the Lehigh County Homicide Task Force were called to examine the remains but he said the action does not imply there were signs of foul play.

Hoffman said the autopsy will determine the manner and cause of death.

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