Irene Leutje
Irene Leutje

Nassau County police are asking for the public’s help in solving the mystery of a 60-year-old woman who had been missing for about a month before she was found dead about five miles from her North Massapequa home.

Construction workers reportedly discovered the body in the bushes outside of a vacant, Sandy-damaged waterfront home on Ocean Avenue in Massapequa on Valentine’s Day. Police identified the woman Tuesday as Irene Luetje, a Farmingdale State College secretary known to friends and family as “Renee.”

“Unfortunately at this point it’s a mystery to us why she was there, how she wound up there and ultimately how she died,” Det. Lt. John Azzata, head of the Homicide Squad, told reporters during a news conference Wednesday.

Investigators said that they found no apparent trauma to the victim and there appears to be no signs of foul play, but medical examiners have yet to complete an autopsy. It wasn’t clear how long she was dead before being found.

Newsday reports that Luetje’s family filed a missing person report for the woman after she neither showed up to grandniece’s birthday party Jan. 6 nor went to work the next day.

What happened in the five weeks between her disappearance and discovery remains a mystery. The worker who made the find told WCBS radio that he heard rushing water and was looking for the water main when he spotted the body.

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Azzata said Luetje was known to take long walks, was taking medication for hypertension and doesn’t appear to have been robbed. He suggested that she could have been seeking assistance for a medical problem when she collapsed.

“The campus is terribly saddened by her death,” said Kathy Coley, a college spokeswoman. “We send our deepest condolences to Irene’s family.”

Homicide Squad detectives ask anyone with information regarding this person to contact them at 516-573-8800.


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