Coroner: Previously missing New Freedom woman's death ruled a suicide

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A New Freedom woman who went missing about nine days ago and whose body was found on Friday died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to York County's coroner.

An autopsy on Monday morning at Allentown's Lehigh Valley Hospital determined 29-year-old Nicole Elizabeth Ebaugh died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to Coroner Pam Gay.

After what was described as a thorough investigation, Gay ruled the manner of Ebaugh's death to be suicide, according to a news release issued by Gay's office on Monday afternoon.

Trooper Kevin Kotchka, a state police spokesperson, has said Ebaugh's body was found Friday in the area where the search for her had been concentrated. 

He also has said Ebaugh's death didn't appear to be suspicious.

Searchers return to the Glatfelters Station parking lot for the York County Heritage Rail Trail Monday, March 8, 2021. State Police and searchers gathered there to search for Nicole Elizabeth Ebaugh, 29, who was last seen near the lot on Saturday. Bill Kalina photo

Ebaugh vanished near the York County Heritage Rail Trail on March 6.

She was last seen near the rail trail parking area along Glatfelters Station Road in North Codorus Township between 10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. that day, state police have said. 

Following Ebaugh’s disappearance, police used cellphone records to find her yellow Volkswagen Beetle, which was abandoned in a parking lot by the trail.

Police and volunteers conducted extensive searches for her, including using helicopters, horses, search dogs and volunteers. 

After her body was found, a deputy coroner pronounced her dead at the scene at 10:39 a.m. Friday, according to Gay's office.

Pennsylvania State Troopers confer at the entrance to the Glatfelters Station parking lot for the York County Heritage Rail Trail Monday, March 8, 2021. State Police and searchers gathered there to search for Nicole Elizabeth Ebaugh, 29, who was last seen near the lot on Saturday. Bill Kalina photo

Ebaugh's family released a statement last week in which her brother, Matt Ebaugh, spoke about the community's response to his sister being missing.

"Over the past several days, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support in the efforts to find my sister Nicole," he wrote.

If you are considering taking your own life, or are concerned about someone else who might be considering it, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline for help, 24 hours a day. The toll-free hotline number is 800-273-8255.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.