Delaware Teacher's Body Is Found in River — and Police Are Trying to Figure Out How She Died

The body of 50-year-old Susan Ledyard, a teacher at Academy Park High School, was discovered at 7:39 a.m. on the morning of July 23

Susan Ledyard
Photo: Delaware State Police

Delaware state police are seeking the public’s help in solving the mysterious death of a high school teacher whose body was found in the Brandywine River in Wilmington.

The body of 50-year-old Susan Ledyard, a teacher at Academy Park High School, was discovered by a bridge worker at 7:39 a.m. on the morning of July 23 about three miles down river from where her 2016 black Honda Civic was parked near the Rising Sun Lane Bridge.

Police said they are still waiting for the medical examiner to determine Ledyard’s cause of death. However, her body did show signs of visible injuries.

Investigators don’t believe she died by suicide.

“Based on interviews with family and friends and looking at her activity, she wasn’t acting like somebody who was contemplating suicide — she was making plans for the coming week,” Delaware State Police homicide detective Dan Grassi tells PEOPLE. “She had never expressed any suicidal tendencies.”

Grassi says Ledyard was last seen by her husband Ben that night.

“Her husband had gone to bed and he didn’t realize she was gone until we notified him the next morning,” he says.

At a press conference Wednesday, Grassi said cell phone records showed that Ledyard had been active on her cell phone in the hours before she drove off from her home at 3:02 a.m. that Tuesday morning.

“We know that Susan was active on her cell phone throughout the night, texting and calling friends up until 2:45 a.m.,” he said.

Grassi said it was normal for Ledyard to text late at night.

“There was nothing alarming in the texts,” he said. “In talking to the friends and family, Susan was a late-night person, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for her to be on the phone late at night, or to go for a walk late at night or anything like that.”

After she left her home at 3:02 a.m. Tuesday, Grassi said she drove about one mile away and parked in the darkened driveway of a closed business – the same location where her car was eventually located. The area is popular with hikers.

Grassi said she was “active for the next few hours, but we do not know her whereabouts during that timeframe, and we don’t know what caused her to leave her residence.”

Video footage from the location also didn’t provide any valuable clues.

“Unfortunately the distance of the cameras to her car, and the time of night and trees, we can see the car, and we know it’s the car because of the headlights and where it’ll ultimately park, but we can’t see if anyone gets in or gets out, or who’s driving,” Grassi said.

At the press conference, Ledway’s brother John Morrissey said his sister was the “superstar” in their family.

“A tough genius,” he said. “She was loved by her parents, by her husband, by her siblings, by her friends, and by her students.

“We know that she is gone, but we’re asking for your help because we simply don’t know how Susan died. This is a last-ditch effort to get information on what took Susan from us.”

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Ledyard’s husband Ben said his wife was the “love of my life.“

“Her family is so heartbroken,” he said.

If anyone has information about Ledyard’s death, contact Dan Grassi at the Delaware State Police Homicide Unit at 302-365-8441 or Detective A. Lloyd of the Troop 2 Major Crimes Unit at 302-365-8411.

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