CONWAY, N.H. — The body of a missing Maine woman whose car was abandoned at a ski area with her toddler unharmed inside has been recovered from a nearby pond, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The body of 20-year-old Krista Dittmeyer of Portland, Maine, was found by divers in a retaining pond about a quarter-mile from where her car was found idling Saturday in the parking lot of Cranmore Mountain ski area in Conway, a town of 10,000 people.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said an autopsy would be done Thursday to determine the cause of Dittmeyer’s death. She described the death as “suspicious,” but she would not elaborate or comment on possible suspects.
The search for the single mother drew national attention.
Dittmeyer last was seen Friday. Her mother is caring for her toddler, 14-month-old Aliyah, in Bridgton, Maine, where she grew up, about 25 miles from Conway.
On Wednesday, investigators zeroed in on the retaining pond. By late afternoon, the Dittmeyer family’s worst fears were confirmed when a hearse retrieved the body, which was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Concord, the state capital. An autopsy was to be conducted Thursday, Young said.
The family had offered a $3,000 reward for information and had planned a candlelight vigil Thursday night in Bridgton, Maine.
Police believed from the outset that she was a crime victim and received assistance from the FBI.
Dittmeyer moved to Portland shortly after her 2008 high school graduation and had been working as a waitress at a South Portland restaurant, said her older sister Kayla Dittmeyer, who lives in Colorado.
Dittmeyer’s mother, LaNell Shackley, had said she didn’t believe anyone had “a vendetta against her.”
“She’s very lovable, very outgoing” the mother told NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday. “I’ve asked all of her friends, and they tell me the same thing. They don’t know who would want to do something to hurt her.”
Dittmeyer’s sister said that “for some reason somebody was after her, but we don’t know who or why.”
Shackley said she last spoke with her daughter on Friday night and was supposed to see her on Easter.
The man identified as the toddler’s father was in prison in Maine at the time of the disappearance, although investigators haven’t ruled him out as a suspect. Police said he and Dittmeyer were living together in South Portland, Maine, when he was arrested last year on drug charges.
The ski area where Dittmeyer’s care was found closed in early April, but the resort is popular among joggers and those walking dogs. It also has a fitness center that is open year-round, but it was not yet open for the day at the time police got the report about Dittmeyer’s car, which was found with its engine running and its hazard lights flashing.
WMWV-FM reported Wednesday that a Conway police officer questioned two men who were walking on a road near the ski area just before midnight Tuesday. The men, one of whom had the same last name as the baby’s father, told police they were friends of Dittmeyer’s, went to Cranmore to look for her and found one of her flip-flops.
Young would not comment Wednesday on what connection the encounter has, if any, to the investigation.