ST. JOHNSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) - The body of a missing 21-year-old woman from St. Johnsville was recovered in Fulton County.
Michaela MacVilla went missing nine days ago while on her way home from work at a Stewart’s Shop in St. Johnsville. New York State Police are now focusing their full effort on a criminal investigation into her disappearance.
Her body was found on a property off Kringsbush Road in Oppenheim. The property owner was out searching for her in an effort to help the family when he discovered her body. At this time, he is not being looked at as a suspect.
“We believe he was searching, as other individuals did, knowing this was a highly publicized case, a missing person, and this is part of what the public did to assist us in this investigation,” NYSP Cpt. Richard O’Brien said. “It is our goal and our mission to arrest, prosecute and convict the person or persons responsible for Michaela’s death if foul play is determined to be involved.”
The area is about four miles from where MacVilla was last seen. Now, her family is planning funeral arrangements.
“Michaela was my heart,” her aunt, Cora Murray, said. “We were just talking inside. It’s really going to hit me the day before Thanksgiving because she’s helped me prepare dinner for the family since she was three years old.”
Murray said the family is handling the tragedy the best they can.
“My sister and her husband, this is the second child they’ve lost in less than two months,” she said. “We don’t know. We’re taking it minute by minute, and we’re going to do the best we can. That’s all we can do.”
Murray said they are thankful for the support from the community.
“Since this started, the community in St. Johnsville and the surrounding areas has been overwhelming,” she said. “They deliver meals to us; they’ve brought household goods; and they’ve gone above and beyond. Complete strangers have stopped by to pick up flyers to distribute.”
The investigation is ongoing.
“Right now, we just want to say a prayer that the police officers and all the law enforcement agencies can find out who did this and bring them to justice,” Murray said. “We don’t want this to happen to anyone else."
State Police do not believe there is any danger to the public at this time. Police have not determined a cause of death. An autopsy is being conducted.
“She was my right arm, and she’s going to be missed,” Murray said. “There’s a hole in our hearts today, and I don’t know if it will ever heal.”
Murray said, on behalf of the entire family, they want to thank all law enforcement who took the time to search for MacVilla.
Anyone with information regarding MacVilla's disappearance is urged to contact police.