Connie Oman Burns
August 15, 2011
A Maple Shade woman, whose body was pulled from her submerged vehicle in a Gloucester County creek Monday afternoon, died from accidental drowning, authorities said Tuesday.
Connie Oman Burns, 55, of Frederick Avenue was reported missing by family members Monday afternoon, a day after she was on her way to a family party but never arrived, said Bernie Weisenfeld, spokesman for the Gloucester County Prosecutor's office.
Her partially submerged 2009 Ford Focus was spotted by a fisherman at about 1:10 p.m. in the Mantua Creek in East Greenwich. Her body was recovered later that afternoon when the vehicle was raised.
Weisenfeld said an autopsy was performed Tuesday morning and revealed that Burns accidentally drowned. He said the determination is preliminary pending the return of toxicology tests, which are due back from a state police lab in six to eight weeks.
Weisenfeld said an investigation is still ongoing to determine where and how Burns' vehicle entered the creek.
South Harrison police received a report of a vehicle being driven erratically in the township at around 4:15 p.m. Sunday. It was later determined that the car was Burns', but police were unable to locate it.
Weisenfeld said the Mantua Creek has strong tidal waters and did rise significantly during Sunday's torrential raise, however, he said investigators haven't determined if flood waters caused her vehicle to enter the creek.
"We need to figure out where she went in first," he said.
Officers were searching the shoreline of the creek Tuesday.
Connie J. Oman-Burns