A mom of two was found dead near a New Jersey highway four days after she disappeared, officials and family members say.
Norelis Mendoza’s body was found Wednesday, May 17, off of Route 440 near Jersey City, according to a Facebook post from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. Officials are classifying her death as suspicious.
The exact cause of Mendoza’s death is under investigation, the prosecutor’s office said.
Officials said the 32-year-old was reported missing on Sunday, May 14, after she was last seen Saturday night at her mother’s house in Jersey City, NJ.com reported.
Mendoza had a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, her cousin, Giovanni Molina, told WCAU.
“Norelis was a loving mother, somebody that would never leave their children behind on Mother’s Day,” Molina told the news outlet. “Those children will never celebrate Mother’s Day with their mother. We have a mother, a grandmother, lost her daughter on Mother’s Day.”
Other family members shared tributes for Mendoza on social media.
“You never deserved this,” another cousin said in a Facebook post. “Thank you to every single person who shared her beautiful face, helped search and checked in.”
“Her smile was infectious,” family members wrote in a GoFundMe. “She was a beacon of light and would help anyone she could.”