More than 12 years after she disappeared, leaving not a trace to console her grieving relatives, Gail Schoening's body was discovered in a submerged magenta Mitsubishi Eclipse not 100 yards from her Plantation condo at Gatehouse on the Green.
A New Jersey blog, mycentraljersey.com, reported yesterday that Shoening's body was finally discovered August 18 of this year. The five-foot blond former IBM data analyst had been recently divorced; she was in search of a new job and a new life. Schoening,who was 35 at the time, had left the house at 5 a.m. on April 30, 1997, to drive to the Fort Lauderdale airport in time for a flight to Raleigh, North Carolina, where she had scheduled a job interview.
Her disappearance incited speculation. There were hints about Schoening's battle with depression after a long stint of unemployment (her mother told police she'd been on antidepressants). There were at least 12 local "sightings" of Schoening shortly after the accident. A clairvoyant told the family that she had "seen" Gail Schoening in a vision; a cousin, refusing to give up hope, posted pleas on search messageboards asking Gail to call home.
The Orlando Sentinel quoted Plantation Detective Dick Barth as saying, "She just disappeared. It was like she fell off the end of the Earth."
Well, not quite. It looks like Schoening didn't even make it out of the condo's gate. Although police are calling the incident a "freak accident," Schoening's mother has said she has been advised by the Plantation Police Department not to discuss the case. It does seem odd that at the time, there were no signs of a car having left the road and plunging into the lake.
As of 4:30 p.m. today, a Plantation Public Information Officer had not returned calls. We'll post more info as it becomes available.