No ID yet of body found in river

MERRIMACK – It will be a while before all the details are known about a body recovered from the Souhegan River this weekend.

Two New Hampshire Fish and Game officers searching the riverbanks on Saturday found the body of a woman at about 5 p.m., half a mile downstream from Wildcat Falls, a popular but sometimes dangerous swimming spot.

The New Hampshire Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy Sunday, said Kim Fallon, chief forensic investigator.

The office was waiting to obtain dental records, and could make a positive identification as early as today.

The cause and manner of death is also pending, Fallon said. Officials have sent blood to the state’s lab for toxicology the examiner issues a final cause of death. That could take weeks, Fallon said.

Sunday’s discovery was made after officials and family members spent four days looking for 48-year-old Susan Bonitatibus, a Merrimack resident who was cooling off in Wildcat Falls Tuesday afternoon when strong currents took her under.

Merrimack police are conducting an investigation that includes piecing together the 24 hours prior to Bonitatibus’ disappearance into the falls, and interviews with neighbors.

The day that Bonitatibus was swept away, police and fire officials, including Nashua’s dive team, started a frenzied rescue mission at about 2 p.m. By dusk, emergency officials said the falls and river were too dangerous to search. Heavy rains had made the waters several feet higher than is typical for this time of year.

Fish and Game took over the search Wednesday, combing the banks each day, including at least one trip with Bonitatibus’ sister and brother-in-law.