Pennsylvania

Death of Delaware Teacher Found in River Remains Unsolved Nearly 3 Months Later

Officials have not determined the cause and manner of Susan Ledyard’s death and have not released information on her injuries pending further investigation

What to Know

  • On July 23, Susan Ledyard was found dead in the Brandywine River in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Police later found Ledyard's unoccupied vehicle about three miles away.
  • Police don't believe Ledyard took her own life but have not determined a cause or manner of death. Her family believes she was killed.

Nearly three months after a Delaware teacher was found dead in a river, police and loved ones are still searching for answers in the unsolved mystery.

"Our family is really suffering," Meg Morrissey Heinicke told NBC10 Saturday. "We are desperate to know what happened to her."

The body of Heinicke’s 50-year-old sister Susan Ledyard was discovered in the Brandywine River near Northeast Boulevard in Wilmington, Delaware, back on July 23 around 7:40 a.m. 

More than an hour later, State Troopers responded to Walkers Mill Road in the area of the Rising Sun Lane Bridge in Wilmington for a report of a suspicious vehicle. When they arrived, they found Ledyard’s unoccupied black, 2016 Honda Civic. The location where the vehicle was recovered is approximately three miles upriver from where Ledyard’s body was found.

Officials have not determined the cause and manner of Ledyard’s death and have not released information on her injuries pending further investigation.

While Ledyard's family at first believed her death was a tragic accident, they now believe someone killed her.

"They're investigating it as a homicide," Heinicke said. "That's their exact words and the words of the Attorney General's Office as well."

Delaware State Police told NBC10 they are still waiting for a final report from the forensic team but at this point they're actively investigating the death as a potential homicide.

While investigators created a timeline of Ledyard’s activities on July 23, a gap remains between the hours of 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. that day. Police don’t believe Ledyard took her own life and they also said the text messages she made shortly before her death weren’t anything out of the ordinary for her.

Police also don’t believe Ledyard went into the river in the area where she left her car. The Brandywine River is normally shallow and while it had rained, the river’s levels weren’t above average that day, according to investigators.

Ledyard was a well-respected teacher at Academy Park High School in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Police said she didn’t have any obvious problems with anyone.

"Someone out there is responsible for her death," Heinicke said. "Someone is waking up every day and going to sleep every night knowing that they have taken her life and shattered her family."

On Saturday around 50 volunteers put up flyers of Ledyard in the Greenville and Wilmington areas, hoping anyone with information would come forward.

"We have to wake up every day and go to bed every night missing her," Heinicke said. "Haunted by what might have happened in her final hours."

If you have any information on Ledyard’s death, please call Detective D. Grassi of the Delaware State Police Homicide Unit at 302-365-8441 or Detective A. Lloyd of the Troop 2 Major Crimes Unit at 302-365-8411. You can also call the Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or submit a tip on their website.

NBC10
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