Police have identified the woman found dead in Bloomfield on Tuesday as Tashauna Jackson, a 23-year-old Hartford mother who disappeared a week ago.
Jackson, the mother of a 5-year-old boy, was reported missing Aug. 12, hours after getting into the car of a man she knew near Keney Park in Hartford. Police have not identified him, but said they have questioned the man and seized his car as evidence.
Family, police and volunteers spent Tuesday morning searching Keney Park as part of the investigation into Jackson's disappearance. Her body was found three-and-a-half miles away in Bloomfield after someone reported a strange smell in the woods.
Police said the body was uncovered about 30 feet into the woods behind the Saba Live Poultry shop on Granby Street.
"My brother was here and he said there was some people going back and forth looking through the woods and then there was screaming and they called the cops," said Bilal Musid, of Saba Live Poultry.
Bloomfield police described Jackson's body as being "in a state of decomposition."
Hartford police spokesman, Deputy Chief Brian Foley, said at the scene Tuesday it appears "steps were taken to hide the body."
According to Jackson's aunt, Tashauna's woman's mother and brother recognized the tattoos.
"My heart is broken for her family, in particular her 5-year-old son," Hartford community activist Rev. Henry Brown said of Jackson. "Words can't express how devastating it is and how her mother must feel right now. I want to applaud her family for being strong and being persistent enough to say, 'We're not giving up 'til we find her.' It's just unfortunate it had to be in this manner."
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra showed his support for Jackson's family in a statement released Tuesday evening.
"The loss of Tashauna Jackson, a young mother, is nothing short of a tragedy and my heartfelt sympathies go out to her young child, her family and her friends" Segarra said in the statement. "Our law enforcement will work cooperatively and diligently to investigate the cause of her death and provide her family with answers."
Jackson's cousin, Azenia Williams, said the family is devastated.
"It's been very agonizing," she said. "Sleepless nights, endless days. It has truly been a traumatic experience for our family."
The case remains under investigation, along with Jackson's cause of death. Police told Jackson's family they are close to making an arrest.
Grief counseling will be available to affected residents on Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Hartford Communities That Care at 2550 Main Street in Hartford, according to a spokesperson for the mayor's office.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Jackson's funeral expenses.
Anyone with information is asked to call Bloomfield police at 860-242-6060.