The coroner's office said the body found Sunday afternoon in Lower Macungie Township has been identified as the Alzheimer's patient who went missing nearly a month ago from a Lehigh County nursing facility.
The body of Audrey Penn was found in a drainage ditch Sunday afternoon near Hamilton Boulevard and Kressler Road. The 77-year-old went missing from Woodland Terrace at the Oaks senior living community in Salisbury Township on Aug. 23.
The Lehigh County Coroner's Office is scheduled to perform an autopsy Tuesday to determine the cause of death.
Salisbury Township police said the search had been proving difficult for several reasons.
While Penn suffered from Alzheimer's disease, authorities said she was quite coherent at times and believed she was still a nurse working in Allentown. Investigators said during the search that they weren't sure whether Penn had walked away from the South Cedar Crest Boulevard facility or convinced someone to give her a ride.
The surrounding terrain with wooded areas, creeks, cornfields and Interstate 78 also made the search difficult.
The Salisbury Township Police Department posted a message on its Facebook page Monday, mourning Penn's death. Command staff was called to the scene on Sunday.
"We give thoughts and prayers to her family in this time of need and send thoughts to everyone that has helped us in the past few weeks," according to the department's Facebook post. "Thank you everyone for your prayers, thoughts and support."