Authorities in Vermont are looking for an “armed and dangerous” person in connection with a woman’s “suspicious death” on a popular route on Thursday.
After receiving a complaint regarding a dead woman in the vicinity, Vermont State Police arrived at the Rail Trail near 1587 South St. in Castleton at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. When troopers arrived, they found the woman and proclaimed her dead at the spot.
According to the agency, a witness heard gunshots before sighting a suspected suspect travelling northward on the trail towards Vermont State University Castleton, previously Castleton University.
The witness described the suspect as a White male with short, dark hair who was about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. The individual was wearing a dark grey T-shirt and carrying a black backpack, according to reports.
Vermont State Police stated the suspect was “armed and dangerous” and advised residents to “remain vigilant and alert for suspicious person(s) and activities.”
According to the university’s publication, students were warned to stay indoors and take cover around 6 p.m. Thursday.
On Facebook, the Town of Castleton stated that VSP troopers were canvassing properties in the vicinity in an attempt to locate a suspect and advised residents and students to “be aware of their surroundings, keep doors and vehicles locked, and do not leave keys in vehicles.” South Street and the Rail Trail are also closed, according to the town.
“As the search continues for a suspect, please make phone calls to friends and family in the area to check in on them,” the town wrote in a post. “If going into buildings or outbuildings that are not/have not been locked, use the buddy system, meaning have another person with you, and have a cell phone with you whenever possible.”
According to authorities, the investigation into the woman’s “suspicious death” is in its early stages, and no other information is known at this time.
The Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Field Force Division, Crime Scene Search Team, Victim Services Unit, and Castleton Police Department are among the agencies involved in the investigation.
According to authorities, the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington will conduct an autopsy on the woman’s body to ascertain the cause and manner of death.
According to the 2020 Census, Castleton has a population of slightly under 4,500 people and is located about seven miles east of the Vermont-New York border.
According to the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation website, the Rail path, officially known as the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail, is a 19.8 mile recreational path open to pedestrians and bikers, as well as horseback riders, snowshoers, skiers, and snowmobiles depending on the season.