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Woman's body found in snow pile at Rochester school is identified

She was reported missing from Northfield in February.
Mercedez Rocha

Authorities have identified the body that was found in a pile of snow at a Rochester elementary school as a 22-year-old woman who was reported missing in February.

The body of Mercedez Christiana Rocha, 22, was found in a snow pile in the parking lot of Gage Elementary School, 1400 40th St. NW, around 4:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Authorities said Thursday they believe Rocha's body was covered in snow for "several weeks." And there is no immediate threat to the public.

An autopsy is being conducted to determine her cause of death, though there "was no obvious trauma observed on the body that could have caused her death," police said. 

Rochester police said the Northfield Police Department contacted them on Jan. 30 for a welfare check on Rocha, who did not have a known address, after her phone had pinged in northwest Rochester. Officers searched the area but didn't find Rocha at that time, police said. 

The Northfield Police Department on Feb. 17 issued a plea for the public's help to locate Rocha, noting she was last seen in Rochester. 

An obituary for Rocha says she is from Northfield and grew up in Medford, noting she "loved to draw, spend time with family and friends and to be outdoors. She was a true child of nature. She was energetic, bubbly, spirited and fun to be around. We lost her too early and she will be greatly missed."

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