It is a strange and sad scenario. Fremont resident Nancy Rogers, 61, first went missing during her overnight shift Monday at the Hayward post office on Santa Clara Street. She died while she was at work, but no one heard anything suspicious.
With no obvious signs of trauma, investigators are relying on an autopsy to determine what killed her. Hayward police Lt. Chris Orrey says authorities still consider her death "suspicious."
"We're not thinking accidental or medical like we might have been yesterday, as we know a little bit more about the scene," Orrey says.
Hours after Rogers disappeared, police found her body at a San Leandro dumpsite.
"The postal employees at the Hayward main are pretty shaken up about this," postal inspector Hilary Rickher told ABC7.
Rogers was a 43-year veteran employee. Rickher says the workers are a tight-knit group and during the overnight shift that clocks in at 1 a.m., there are no more than a half-dozen employees.
So, when Rogers disappeared on the job, they noticed.
"They have very set routines in their jobs and so when they noticed that Ms. Rogers was not where she should be at a particular time, they started a search and they contacted law enforcement," Rickher said.
Police started searching for Rogers at 4:45 in the morning, but only found her car in the parking lot. One postal worker told ABC7 that Rogers' glove may have been discovered on the dock near the building's dumpster.
"We also noticed that the trash dumpster was empty and had been emptied recently, and it was just a matter of covering all bases because we couldn't find the victim at the work premises or at her home," Orrey explained.
Police are looking at the possibility of surveillance video that may help determine how Rogers ended up in the dumpster later carried off by garbage drivers. The postal service offered employees grief counseling Tuesday and addressed safety concerns.
"We're doing security reviews of the facility to make sure that this type of incident doesn't happen again," Ricker said.
Workers say they are now worried about their safety and have asked for more protection like lighting and security. Postal police will be patrolling the area until the mysterious death is resolved.
The coroner's office is expected to have autopsy results as early as Tuesday.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Hayward police Inspector Mike Woods, or an available inspector, through the Crime Stoppers hotline at (510) 293-7197.