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Family says woman found dead on Lilac Street is missing 74-year-old

Family says woman found dead on Lilac Street is missing 74-year-old

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The woman found dead in a yard on Lilac Street on Tuesday is missing 74-year-old Ana Rodriguez, a family representative confirmed with The Buffalo News.

Ana Rodriguez

Ana Rodriguez, 74, has dementia and was last seen around 1 p.m. Monday on Lilac Street in Buffalo.

Rodriguez, who suffered from dementia, was last seen about 1 p.m. Monday on Lilac Street, off of South Park Avenue, just east of Hopkins Street.

Around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, Buffalo police found the body of a woman on Lilac Street, according to Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.

"Our heart breaks for the family," Gramaglia told reporters at a news conference.

Rodriguez lived on Lilac, and the body was found down the street from her home, Gramaglia said.

Police do not suspect foul play, but the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office will determine how the woman died.

Police were searching for Rodriguez starting Monday afternoon in the neighborhood surrounding Lilac Street. Several dozen law enforcement officers participated in the search from several agencies, including Amherst police, Erie County sheriff's deputies and K-9 units from the Niagara County Sheriff's Office. The Erie County Sheriff's Office helicopter was utilized in the search Tuesday morning.

Police escalated search efforts due to the cold weather and because Rodriguez suffered from dementia, Gramaglia said.

The Buffalo Police Department Underwater Recovery Team responded to the Buffalo River earlier Tuesday after police in the air spotted a break in the ice.

A drone operated by Buffalo police spotted what appeared to be a body behind a home, and the body was confirmed by officers, he said.

Volunteers with Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue, a nonprofit organization, also helped in the search.

The sheriff's helicopter was not able to be utilized in the search Monday due to weather, Gramaglia said.

Police ask anyone who may have video from the neighborhood that may show Rodriguez walking around to contact detectives at 716-851-4415.

Reach Aaron at abesecker[at]buffnews.com or 716-849-4602.

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