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Missing Oregon Woman Found Dead In Trunk Of Car

Authorities are investigating after finding the remains of a missing Oregon woman in the trunk of her car.

Merrilee Cooley, 68, was reported missing when a friend went to check on her in the Clackamas, Oregon, mobile home where she lived alone and found it to be in a state of disarray, KGW reports.

The contents of Cooley's purse were emptied out, and the walker and wheelchair that the woman required to get around were still inside the home. Cooley's car and keys were missing, as well.

"It's totally not her at all," said Peggy Husman, who had been friends with Cooley for decades. "Somebody always knows if she'll be gone overnight. She contacts somebody; either the gal next door, the guy across the street, she calls me and tells me what she's going to do, something."

"She loved people," said Cooley's daughter-in-law, Wendy Eilers. "Nobody was a stranger to her. She could start a conversation with anybody, and everybody was her friend."

"We used to call her crazy Meme," Wendy recalled, according to the The Oregonian. "She's the grandma that got the art supplies and messy stuff."

Wendy added that before Cooley's disappearance, she was able to see the November championship football game for Lebanon High School, where Wendy's husband, Bryan Eilers, works as a coach. The game was Lebanon High's first championship.

"It was a pretty special moment for him," Wendy said. "He was so happy that his mom was there. Definitely a good memory."

Wendy and Bryan had visited Cooley with their children the day after Christmas.

"We had a good visit with her," Wendy recalled. "The kids played the [Nintendo] Wii. We just hung out."

After Bryan's mother was reported missing, the family began to search for her.

Police found the car in an apartment complex and then found the remains, later confirmed to be Cooley's, inside of the vehicle's trunk.

"Our thought is that somebody took advantage of her, but that's just our guess," Wendy said.

In a Facebook post, Wendy provided friends with updates on the search for Cooley and the investigation into her death. She thanked friends for their support.

"Please continue praying for our family, especially her son, Bryan, her grandkids, and all of the other kids who wake up today to find out someone has taken their Meme away," Wendy wrote.

Sources: The Oregonian, KGW, Wendy Eilers/Facebook / Photo credit: KXL

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