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Reading woman identified as burned body found in Salisbury

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:42:16 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 05:36:43 PM CST

Burning body found in Lehigh Co. identified as Reading woman

SALISBURY TWP., Pa. -

Officials may be one step closer to figuring out why a woman's body was dumped on the side of the road and set on fire in Salisbury Township two days after Christmas. Thursday that woman was identified as 26-year-old Jennifer Velez-Negron from Reading. Now her family is speaking out and seeking justice.

"They called us the 27th said she was dead."

For Yesenia Velez the last two weeks have been filled with tears and confusion, the pain raw knowing her older sister was brutally killed.

"I don't know why they did that to her, I still think why did they do that to her."

On December 27th her older sister Jennifer Velez-Negron's body was found burning on the side of a road in Salisbury Township. Jennifer leaves behind three young kids and a family whose hearts are hurting.

"My sister use to do everything for everybody," cried Yesenia. "Like any friend comes to her "Jenny can you do this?" she never said no."

And it wasn't just friends, Yesenia says Jennifer was a good, kind hearted person.

"She would always look out for me and my kids, she helped me a lot with them."

The Lehigh County Coroner says Jennifer died from suffocation and the flames. We're told it took so long to ID Jennifer because of the severity of the burns.

"Fingerprints could not be used, dental records were not available," explained Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim.

The day after she was discovered, investigators released a description to try and figure out the woman's identity. Grim says the turning point was her tattoo, which led them to Jennifer's family. Authorities were able to match Jennifer's DNA with her father's.

"Now that we were able to put a name with her face, our investigation as well as the police investigation will continue," said Grim.

Jennifer's family tells us she was living in Salisbury Township with a friend. Family says she recently lost her job and was stressed trying to find ways to support her children. Yesenia hadn't talked to her in a week, but had an eerie nightmare hours before Jennifer was killed.

"She was stretching her hands," she said through tears. "Her hands and saying to help her, and I was trying to help her but she was gone, little by little she was gone, and I couldn't help her."

They're trying to push past the pain as police hunt for Jennifer's killer.

"She use to talk to me and now I have no one to talk to," sobbed Yesenia. "It's hard for me because she left me here."

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call the Salisbury Township Police Department at 610-797-1447.