The duct-taped body of a woman found floating Tuesday morning in the Schuylkill is likely that of a 19-year-old Egg Harbor Township, N.J., woman abducted from an Atlantic City apartment in late March, police sources said.
A police boat recovered the body near the Columbia Bridge in Fairmount Park about 11 a.m. after a bicyclist called 911.
Nadirah Ruffin, mother of a 4-year-old son, was abducted in late March in the Back Maryland section of Atlantic City.
The head and neck of the body were wrapped in duct tape. One ankle was handcuffed and the other was free, police said. Clothing and tattoos on the body matched a description of Ruffin, sources said.
An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday for an official identification and to determine the cause of death, police said.
"We're going to have to wait and see if it's our girl," Atlantic City Police spokeswoman Sgt. Monica McMenamin said.
Four people wearing masks and wielding handguns forced their way inside the apartment of Ruffin's cousin the evening of March 26. The assailants - three men and one woman, police said - ransacked the apartment, bound Ruffin and four other young woman in duct tape, and forced Ruffin into a car. The other women were left in the apartment.
A graduate of Atlantic City High School, Ruffin had attended community college courses and most recently worked at a Ralph Lauren store in Atlantic City, said Ruffin family attorney James J. Leonard Jr. As a high school student, she had a job as a youth summer worker in Atlantic City.
"She was a bubbly, outgoing 19-year-old woman that was very full of life," Leonard said.
Atlantic City police have provided no motive for the home invasion. Ruffin and two friends were arrested last year in the burglary of a car, according to the Atlantic City Press.
Since her disappearance, family and neighbors have scoured the neighborhood where she was abducted, knocking on doors and handing out fliers. The FBI offered a $20,000 reward in the case.
If the body is confirmed to be Ruffin's, New Jersey authorities will likely continue to spearhead the investigation, sources said.
Contact staff writer Mike Newall at 215-854-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inquirer staff writer Allison Steele contributed to this article.