VENICE — The investigation continues into the disappearance and death of a Venice woman. 

An autopsy took place Monday for the body of Tracey Lynn Rieker, 44, of Venice.

Her body was recovered from a sunken vehicle in North Venice's Toscana Isles on Saturday. 

"Investigators will know more about Ms. Rieker's cause of death following the results, as well as a toxicity screening that could take 6 to 8 weeks," the city of Venice announced in a news release Monday. 

At about 11:45 a.m. Saturday, her green Nissan Xterra was found in a pond in the Toscana Isles subdivision in North Venice. Her body was found inside it.

A family friend said Tracy Rieker and her family lived in Toscana Isles, not far from where the vehicle was discovered. 

"She just had this energy about her," Raysha Harris, of San Antonio, Texas. "You would start talking to her and she could make friends with anyone. She just had that personality. She had that welcoming personality." 

Harris and Rieker became friends about a decade ago, Harris said. 

Rieker had been missing since Sept. 30, authorities said. 

Authorities are investigating it as a traffic homicide, a standard investigation when a death or serious injury occurs involving a vehicle.

Along with the city of Venice, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and North Port Police Department and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission took part in the Saturday effort.   

Rieker left home Sept. 30 with no purse, phone or money, according to her husband, Christian. 

He previously said his wife, who had asthma and other breathing problems as a child, was increasingly more consumed by the impact of the virus.

Christian said Tracey Lynn may have been suffering a mental health breakdown. She talked about God much more before her disappearance, he said.

“She just wasn’t herself,” Christian said earlier this month. “She had been up for a couple of days. She said she didn’t want to celebrate Halloween or Christmas this year. Our daughter was born on Halloween. She said she was getting rid of the Halloween decorations and the tree.”

Harris said she, Tracey Rieker and two others had been fasting for spiritual reasons. Harris said she had just fasted for a day while Tracey told her in a conversation she was going to continue the fasting through the weekend. 

Harris said she is worried the extended fast and the fact Tracey Rieker hadn't been sleeping well in recent months was a bad mix that may have lead to her death. 

"She had this amazing smile," Harris said. "She could smile at you and you couldn't be upset."

Rieker is survived by her husband and four children who range in age from 12-19.


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