Passerby finds dead, partially clothed woman in vacant lot in Harrowgate

A passerby in Harrowgate made a gruesome discovery early Monday night, police said: the body of a partially clothed woman dead in a debris-strewn vacant lot.

Police and medics were called to the lot, on Ruth Street near Venango, around 5:30 p.m. The woman, who police said was lying on her back and completely naked except for a shirt pulled up over her shoulders and face, was pronounced dead in the lot. She remained unidentified later Monday, but was estimated to be in her late 20s.

Chief Inspector Scott Small said investigators from the Medical Examiner’s Office found signs of trauma to the woman’s face, and homicide detectives were called to the scene. The death is being investigated as suspicious until the Medical Examiner’s Office performs an autopsy and determines an official cause of death, Small said.

Police said the area, which is not far off of Kensington Avenue, is a known location for drug use and prostitution. On the snowy night, police had to cover the woman’s body in an effort to preserve any evidence, Small said. Investigators remained at the scene around 7:30 p.m. Monday.