By Joe Johnson
Mystery surrounds the death of an Athens woman whose body was found over a week ago in the woods near a northwest Athens subdivision.
The body of 38-year-old Adriana Castañeda was found on March 21 in a wooded area near Maple Forge off of Lavender Road, about two weeks after she was reported to be missing.
Police indicated that there were no obvious signs of trauma to the body that could explain the woman’s death and said an autopsy at the State Crime Lab was inconclusive.
County Coroner Sonny Wilson said that Castañeda’s body could have been in the woods for as long as since March 4, three days before her roommate at the Kathwood Drive apartment where Castañeda lived reported to police that she was missing.
Wilson said that when found, the woman’s body was intact and still clothed, and that if there had been any injuries, he was unable to tell due to the state of decomposition.
Adding to the mystery was that the body was discovered by officers as they conducted a search around Maple Forge as part of what police called an ongoing investigation, the nature of which has not been disclosed.
The body was found not far from a house at 110 Maple Forge Drive that is owned by a man that Castañeda was said to have been dating. That man reportedly left the country for Mexico at about the time of the events.
Someone who lives in the neighborhood said they saw police officers parked outside of the house the day before the body was found.
The level of apparent interest by police concerning the house had neighbors buzzing about carpeting being removed from the residence, and they reported that police were in the house most of the day that Castañeda’s body was found, as well as the following day.
Lt. Shaun Barnett, who is spokesman for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, would not confirm whether a search warrant for the house was executed.
“Specific details related to the ongoing investigation are not being released at this time,” he said.
Barnett said that investigators had not ruled out the possibility that Castañeda had died from foul play, but he would not say if her death was being investigated as a possible homicide.
“If the investigation indicates that a crime has been committed, then any relevant charges against any relevant individuals will be made,” he said.
Police asked for anyone with information related to Castañeda’s disappearance and death to contact Detective David Harrison at 762-400-7361 or email@example.com.