A dead body was found inside of a plastic barrel in Bergen County, New Jersey last week–dumped in the middle of a suburban street. Now, police say the unclothed corpse was moved to the Garden State after a woman died inside of a luxury, high-rise apartment in New York City’s infamous Financial District neighborhood.
The woman has been identified via fingerprints as 42-year-old Nicole Flanagan, according to local ABC affiliate WABC. Her cause of death is unknown. A toxicology report is currently being processed and there were reportedly no obvious signs of trauma on Flanagan’s body.
According to the Daily Voice, and citing “a family member who spoke on condition of anonymity,” Flanagan was a mother of three who hailed from Connecticut and most recently lived near Fordham University in the Bronx, an obituary notes. She is also survived by her brother, her sister-in-law, and both of her parents.
“She had three beautiful children that adored her, and loved her, and you know, a family that loved her and cared for her but, you know, just lost touch,” her ex-husband Ray Underwood told the New York Daily News. “I didn’t know what she did. I didn’t know who she hung around with. I didn’t know anything. I know it’s an investigation. I don’t care what she did. I don’t care who she was with. I don’t care. No one deserves to have that done to her, especially a mother of three.”
“She adored her children,” an unnamed friend also told the outlet. “Her kids were everything, everything. Any happiness in this world was from her children.”
Lisa Flanagan, the victim’s sister-in-law, has started a GoFundMe for memorial expenses.
“We are all devastated by the loss of Nicole. We want to give her the memorial she deserves, to honor her memory and say our last goodbyes. As everyone knows, this was tragic and sudden. Making final arrangements has become a financial burden on her father,” a message from the sister-in-law said. “We are grateful for your thoughts, prayers, and support during this difficult time.”
“Rest in Peace Nicole, you will be missed by all,” she added.
Several local media outlets in New York City have reported that Flanagan was a sex worker or “high-end escort” because she was allegedly previously arrested on such charges.
The night before the 55-gallon drum was discovered by Ridgefield Park residents, Flanagan was seen on surveillance video entering 95 Wall Street with a man, according to police sources cited by the New York Post. Later that evening, around 10:45 p.m., the same man can be seen loading a barrel from off of a luggage rack into a U-Haul van.
“She was last seen alive in the vicinity of 95 Wall Street,” NYPD Detective Hubert Reyes told NJ.com–saying that she was last seen alive walking out of an apartment building in the neighborhood.
The NYPD is currently assisting the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ridgefield Park Police Department, Reyes added.
The Post cites an unnamed resident of 95 Wall Street who claims the law enforcement investigation has focused on a unit that has been occupied by two men for roughly a year.
“The police are still up there and they’re looking for the two guys,” the neighbor told the outlet. “I know them. I see them all the time.”
“They were cool looking, young,” the neighbor added. “You wouldn’t think anything of them. They were very respectful to me and always would start a conversation with me in the hall.”
A neighbor interviewed by the Daily News said there were “blood spatters inside the apartment” and that both men had eluded authorities by the time Flanagan’s body was discovered.
“The cops missed these guys by a few hours,” he said. “I thought they were dealing drugs, but they were always riding skateboards. I just thought they were on the delivery end. Their apartment smelled like marijuana and bad air freshener. They always had some strange incense going.”
[image via screengrab/CBS7 and family-placed obituary]
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