A 50-year-old Springboro High School employee reported missing Thursday was found dead in a Middletown parking lot late Friday night.
A police officer found Laura Lynn Howard dead shortly before midnight Friday. She was discovered inside a blue Chrysler van parked in the parking lot of Bicentennial Commons, 100 South Carmody Blvd., a Middletown police dispatcher said.
The cause of her death is under investigation.
Howard worked in food services at Springboro High, according to district spokeswoman Karen Lane DeRosa.
DeRosa said the district was shocked by news of Howard’s death and thoughts and prayers were with her family.
Howard was believed to be driving a Chrysler Town and Country van, Ohio license plate FZN3723, with a large dent on the right-side passenger door when she was reported missing.
Bicentennial Commons is near the Great Miami River Recreational Trail. The 11-acre park features an overlook, stage, walkway and trail connection to Smith Park.
Springboro police Sgt. Eric Abrams said Howard’s husband, Eric Howard, reported her missing 8:50 p.m. Thursday.
She was last seen leaving her home at 145 Kesling Drive in Springboro at about 1 p.m that day, police said. She was wearing blue jean shorts, a Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt and gym shoes.
“She never returned home,” Abrams said. “He (Eric Howard) just thought it was very unusual.”
Howard was a member of the Springboro High School class of 1981.
Classmates expressed shock and support on social media for Howard’s family and sorrow over her passing.
Eric Howard and his family thanked Springboro and Middletown police for their work. He also expressed gratitude to family members and friends for their prayers and thoughts.
Staff writers Andy Sedlak and Layron Livingston contributed to this report.
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