Body discovered in Southwest Philadelphia identified as missing pregnant woman, police say
PHILADELPHIA - Authorities have confirmed that the body of a woman found in Southwest Philadelphia Tuesday morning is that of a missing pregnant woman from Delaware County.
Upper Darby Police said Tuesday morning that the body was positively identified as 21-year-old Dianna Brice. She had a 4-year-old son and was expecting a second boy.
Police say Brice's body was discovered at 58th and Eastwick Streets early Tuesday morning.
The discovery comes days after she was spotted leaving a laundromat with her boyfriend, Justin Smith, around 1 p.m. on March 30.
Neither Brice nor Smith has been seen or heard from since that day, police say.
Brice's mother says she couldn't reach her daughter on March 30, and she contacted Smith.
At that time, she says Smith informed her that they had gotten into an argument and she got out of the car in Philadelphia.
Smith stopped answering his phone around 5 p.m., according to the mother, who then filed a report.
At about the same time, Upper Darby police say the car was found abandoned and on fire near 59th and Florence streets in Philadelphia.
"Words don't express how sad it is for a young woman who leaves behind a 4-year-old child and was three to four months pregnant with her second. Words don't explain how sad it is for her family," Upper Darby Township Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said.
Bernhardt says Philadelphia police are now leading the case and Smith, who was the last person she was seen with is now a person of interest.
Crime scene investigators, homicide detectives and an arson detection dog scoured Smith's burnt-out car Tuesday.
An arson detection dog hit multiple times while sniffing for accelerants on Smith's car. Crime scene experts then turned their attention to a white Hyundai investigators say was allegedly rented by another of Smith's girlfriends. Sources say it may have been used to transport Brice's body.
A carpet removed the trunk of the damaged rental car drew close attention from detectives. It was wrapped up and carted away as investigators tried to preserve any blood, hairs, or DNA that might be on it and assist them in the investigation.
Both vehicles were towed to the Philadelphia police impound lot and will be taken apart and closely searched for more evidence on Wednesday.
Sources say the FBI is also downloading the victim's phone hoping for more evidence. Smith is believed to have fled the area, according to police.
Brice's mother declined to comment Tuesday.
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