Body of woman found in submerged car nearly 6 years after she went missing

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SALEM, N.J. -- The body of a woman who was missing for almost 6 years was found in a car submerged in a river Thursday, KYW reports.

Vanessa Smallwood, 52, was last seen outside of a dry cleaner.

Jenuita Lobster says Vanessa was her favorite cousin, and she was loved by many.

"Vanessa was a very small sweetheart. Vanessa was very caring, especially when it came to family and her boys," Lobster said.

Divers cleaning debris from the bottom of the Salem River spotted something unusual Thursday.

Around noon, New Jersey state police recovered Vanessa's body in a submerged car in the area of West Broadway Road.

"Now that we know that yes Vanessa is indeed no longer on this side with us, we're OK," Lobster said.

As the investigation continues into how Vanessa ended up at the bottom of a river the family is hoping to get answers.

"Now comes the hard part: finding out the details," Lobster said.

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