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Missing NRI doctor's body found in car

Zehra's body was recovered from a car pulled out from the estuary in Alameda.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2005 09:57 IST

The body of an Indian-American doctor, missing for over a month, has been recovered from inside a car pulled out from the estuary off a boat ramp at nearby Alameda.

The police on Wednesday confirmed that the body was that of 55-year-old paediatrician Zehra Attari, missing since November 7, the day she disappeared after leaving her Oakland office, presumably to attend a medical conference.

Police divers began searching the area after a tip on Sunday from a woman who reported seeing her on that day. The tipster said she had seen Attari driving in Alameda as if she were lost.

On Tuesday night, police divers found her 2001 Grey Honda Accord buried deep in the water's muddy bottom about 30 to 50 feet off the end of the boat ramp.

Though the police has not ruled out foul play, family friends and relatives believe it might have been an accident.

San Jose community activist and family friend Annie Dandavati told reporters that the road ends in an incline, which Attari may have thought was a ramp to a bridge. She said there was no way of knowing the road led directly into the estuary.

"I think it's shameful that there is no barrier," said Ruby Ali, one of Attari's children.

The victim's family had offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to her safe return.

A spokesperson for the Alameda County Coroners office said the coroner was awaiting lab reports to determine the cause of death.

First Published: Dec 22, 2005 08:50 IST