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      Body found in wooded area in Columbia

      Columbia police found the body in a wooded area near the Austin Woods apartment complex.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - The Richland County Coroner's Office is working to identify a body found in Columbia Thursday.

      Columbia police found the body in a wooded area off Garners Ferry Road near the Austin Woods apartment complex.

      Officers made the discovery as they investigated a missing persons case.

      Department spokesperson Jennifer Timmons says the body is badly decomposed.

      "We don't want to speculate as to who we may think this person is," said Timmons at the scene Thursday. "That's why the Richland County Coroner's Office is so valuable to the Columbia Police Department. They can determine the gender, what happened and how long the individual may have been at this location."

      Officers say they found the body as they investigated the disappearance of 24-year-old Rachel Goodnight. She was reported missing by her mother Tuesday.

      Police say Goodnight hasn't been seen since March 28. According to officers, she didn't have a permanent address and frequented a recently demolished homeless camp along Hazelwood Road.

      Columbia police are not speculating if the body found Thursday is Goodnight.

      If you have any information on the body found, or on Goodnight's whereabouts, call CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-888-CRIME-SC.