Pictured; Rebecca Louise Mertz (31)
Latest update: 09/30/12 – Body of Rebecca Mertz Found
The body of a 31-year-old missing Blandon woman was found this afternoon near Lake Ontelaunee, officials at the Berks County coroner’s office said.
Rebecca Mertz, 31, was reported missing Sept. 18 and was believed to be in the area of the lake.
Officials in the coroner’s office said Mertz’s body was found by searchers from the National Guard along with friends and family at about 12:30 p.m. near the closed bridge at West Shore Drive.
The Blandon woman was reported missing Sept. 18, and her body was found near the area where her abandoned vehicle had been located 11 days ago.
The body was under very thick brush, and rescuers had to use chain saws to recover it. Bloodhounds that had been involved in previous searches had been unable to locate Mertz.
The coroner’s office has ruled Mertz’s death a suicide but did not disclose the cause of death. She was pronounced dead at 12:42 p.m.
Police and volunteers had been conducting an intensive search for Mertz, who was last heard from Sept. 18 telling someone she was at the lake to get some rest. Investigators believe she died shortly after she last made contact with loved ones.
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UPDATE: 09/24/12 – Search End’s For Missing Blandon Woman.
After six days of intensive efforts, officials Sunday ended their search of an area near Lake Ontelaunee for a woman who has been missing since last week.
Northern Berks Regional police have been on the scene daily since Rebecca Mertz, 31, of Blandon was reported missing by her family on Tuesday.
As of Sunday night, investigators had found nothing.
“The police department is assuming a position of a passive nature at this point,” Sgt. Ronald Mohl said. “We are not going to be conducting any active searches unless something of significance or concrete evidence would arrive.”
Members of the Reading Fire Department Scuba Rescue Team and the Schuylkill Haven Scuba Team searched the lake for several hours Sunday afternoon.
“We had an extensive sonar search done and divers in the water did not find anything,” Mohl said.
While Saturday’s search included the help of about 140 volunteers in the wooded area around the lake, Sunday’s was strictly by professional teams.
Mohl said the Schuylkill Haven team has found most of the people who have drowned in Blue Marsh Lake, adding that it and high-caliber equipment and expert personnel.
He said that the sonar used Sunday can pinpoint a lot of small objects and a person’s body.
The divers focused mainly on the area by the closed bridge at West Shore Drive.
Mertz’s abandoned vehicle was found near the bridge Tuesday.
During Saturday’s search, some of the K-9 units showed interest in the area, but Mohl said it could have just been that Mertz brushed up against the bridge or walked across it.
Mohl said Mertz was seen at American House in Leesport last Monday night into early Tuesday.
She left the bar, went to a residence about a half-block away and stayed there until about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, he said.
Mohl said Mertz’s family received a troubling text message from her at 9:19 a.m. Tuesday.
Someone called Mertz to find out what was going on and she said she was hanging out at the lake, Mohl said.
Mertz told the caller that she called into work and said she was running late. She said she had a rough night and was going to get some rest.
“It was nothing unusual,” Mohl said. “They said she was very familiar with the lake.”
After the family reported she was missing Tuesday, Mohl said Mertz was entered into the national database for missing persons.
Her information will remain in the system and Mohl said investigators will continue to monitor Facebook and other social networks for any signs of her.
The active searches around Lake Ontelaunee, however, are over.
“I think we covered that over the last five days,” Mohl said. “We concentrated a search of that whole area. There is always a possibility she walked away and chose to go missing.”
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Published: 09/21/12 – Search Volunteer’s Needed For Missing Pennsylvania Woman.
Rebecca Mertz, also known as ”Becky”, 31-year-old woman missing from Blandon, Pennsylvania. She was last seen Tuesday morning, (09/18/12) Her car was located on the side of Ridge Road in Maiden-creek Township. She sent several unknown text messages to her family and friends, which alarmed them. They think she might be planning to harm herself. She had personal issues and may be armed with a gun.
Police at this time see no sign of foul play or evidence of any criminal activity.
There will be a search conducted tomorrow (09/22/12) at 8a.m. at the intersection of Ontelaunee, West Shore and Shoemakersville roads. Anyone interested in helping search for Rebecca can report to a police command post.
Authorities say anyone wishing to help should wear a florescent vest or clothing since it is archery season and wear long pants, shirts, shoes and a hat because the area is dense woods.
Also, people should bring a water container and snacks. The search is expected to last from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.
If you have any information regarding this case, please contact: (610) 926-1787.