MOUNTAIN HOME -- The Elmore County Sheriff's Office is investigating after the body of a 71-year-old woman was discovered in the trunk of her own car, less than a day after family members reported her missing.
The case is a homicide, Sheriff Mike Hollinshead confirmed.
Hollinshead said Paula Knudson Ferbrache's husband called 911 at 7 p.m. Friday, telling dispatchers that his wife had not yet returned home, despite leaving work at 2 p.m.
A search for Ferbrache and her car that night came up empty. But just after 8 a.m. Saturday, a citizen reported spotting Ferbrache's car along a dirt road four miles northeast of Mountain Home.
Hollinshead said deputies went out to the area, an agricultural part of the county not far from the victim's home, and found the car with her body in the trunk.
Although the sheriff's office has said foul play is involved in the woman's death, her exact cause of death has not been released. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
No one has been charged in Ferbrache's killing. The sheriff said Monday that investigators have developed several leads and "persons of interest" they want to speak to about the homicide. He declined to release the names of those people.
Ferbrache worked at the Walmart in Mountain Home, and was well-known and well-liked in the community, Hollinshead said.
"This lady was very special," he said. "She touched so many people's hearts in this community that it's devastated everyone in this community."
It's unclear whether Ferbrache was specifically targeted. Hollinshead said he did not believe the community is in any danger, suggesting the slaying was not random.
"The public is not in danger," he said. "This is not someone going around targeting people and we are running every lead we can to find out who did it," Hollinshead said.
Idaho State Police is assisting the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact authorities immediately.