Body of Indiana Woman Missing Since 2009 Found in Submerged Car

Ester Westenbarger would now be 61.
Ester Westenbarger would now be 61. Handout

The body of an Indiana mother who disappeared more than a decade ago has been found inside of a submerged car, authorities said. She was last seen walking toward her car in the parking lot of a Kokomo bar, according to an updated news release from the Howard County Sheriff's office.

Ester Westenbarger was reported missing by her family on Nov. 13, 2009 after she failed to return home.

Her daughter, Mathilda Rood, confirmed her mother's identification in a Facebook post. "The car and remains found this past Wednesday in Kokomo, IN were our mother," she wrote on Monday. "I received the call this morning and dental identification has confirmed 100% it is her."

Two fishermen called 911 after seeing an algae-covered vehicle in a retention pond, the sheriff's department said. After pulling the car from the water, a body was found inside.

The gold Cadillac had Ohio vanity plates reading MS ESTER, the sheriff's office said in a statement posted on Facebook. It was registered to Westenbarger.

Her family had established a social media page, seeking information on their missing relative.

"I want to thank everyone who has prayed for her, who has prayed for us, who has thought of us and anyone else who has been so kind as to send their condolences in this time," her daughter said.

An investigation is ongoing, but authorities said they do not suspect foul play.

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