HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Investigators found a body in a crawl space Friday that police believe is that of a missing Marshall University student.
Forensic investigators found the body at 5 p.m. in a common laundry room in the basement of the missing woman's apartment building, the Huntington Police Department said in a prepared statement.
The body has not been identified but indications are that it is that of 21-year-old Leah Hickman, who has been missing since Dec. 14, the department said.
There are no suspects, Police Chief Skip Holbrook said at a Friday night news conference. He provided few details, saying police do not want to jeopardize the investigation. He said police do not know how long the body had been in the crawl space. He would not say whether a cause of death has been determined.
"Obviously this is a fresh crime scene. It was important for us to make a preliminary notification to the family. We are ... confident this is her," Holbrook said.
The last known contact with Hickman was a cell phone conversation with a friend late on the afternoon of Dec. 14. Police say Hickman's cell phone hasn't been used since.
The phone is missing, but Hickman's keys, purse, car and the bags she'd packed to go to visit her parents in the Point Pleasant area were found at her Huntington apartment.
Holbrook said investigators were not tipped off about the location of the body, and that they found it during a search for evidence. He said the crawl space was not in plain view.