State police investigating the suspicious death of a Wilmington woman found in the Brandywine River in July are now confirming she was murdered.
The official homicide determination was made following the outcome of the medical examiner’s report on the case, which concluded Susan Ledyard’s death was “due to blunt force trauma and drowning.”
TSD had earlier reported Ledyard’s death was being investigated as a homicide, according to family members, but police were not ready to make that confirmation, pending the conclusion of the forensic evaluation.
Earlier today police issued the following statement: “The Delaware Division of Forensic Science has officially classified the death of 50-year-old Susan M. Ledyard of Wilmington as a homicide, due to blunt force trauma and drowning.
“The Delaware State Police Homicide Unit and the Troop 2 Major Crimes Unit are continuing to actively investigate the incident. There is no further information to release at this time.”
Ledyard left her home in the early morning hours of July 23, and her body was found shortly after 7:00 am miles downstream from where her Honda Civic was parked near Hagley museum. There have been few clues about how she spent the last several hours of her life, including her whereabouts and anyone she was with leading up to her death.
Ledyard’s family and friends have embarked on a campaign to generate leads in the case, actively blanketing areas around the Brandywine and into Greenville with flyers featuring an image of Susan and requesting calls to the Delaware State Police with any information.
Missy Morrissey, Ledyard’s sister, told TSD that “a lot of calls” were generated by the leafletting. Now she says the focus of the public outreach campaign will shift north, into Kennett Square, Unionville and shopping centers along 202.
Morrissey said her sister was an “academic wizard” and “a unique and amazing person” who starred on the 1985 state champion field hockey team at Tatnall School. Susan went on to study at Georgetown University and lived for several years in San Francisco before returning to teach in the Wilmington area.
“This could be anyone’s wife, daughter, friend – and she was murdered – someone took her life, and we need the support of the community and friends … any little bit of information could help,” said Morrissey.
She said the family was buoyed by the outpouring of interest and engagement and the feeling “the public is on the case with us. And it means everything.”
State Police Corporal Michael Austin said that the official homicide designation won’t have a major impact on the “active and ongoing” investigation already underway into what had been deemed a suspicious death. When asked about suspects, motive or the location of the murder, Austin said additional details on the case would be provided only when that information would help advance the investigation.
Anyone with information on the case should call 1-800-TIP-3333 or send a direct message over Facebook.