MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) – A Medford woman who was found deceased inside her recycling bin Monday morning was an avid churchgoer whose death has shocked her local community.

Those who knew 61-year-old Barbara Novaes stopped by her Emery Street home Tuesday to leave flowers by her doorstep and remember the woman they loved.

“Just a very bubbly personality, would help people out. Kind, kind woman. Just sad, it’s such a shock,” said former neighbor Anne Miller.

Detectives descended on the quiet Medford neighborhood Tuesday, searching for clues and surveillance footage after the suspicious death.

Novaes was last seen leaving for a nail appointment Sunday. Her son, who lives with her, reported her missing the next morning after noticing the door open, her car parked at home and her keys and phone there too. Her body was found in the bin underneath the back porch several hours later, officials said.

They confirmed there were no obvious signs of trauma, and said it is being investigated as a suspicious death.

A neighbor, who had already been interviewed by detectives, told 7NEWS that she “saw a guy with a recycling bin” Sunday. “It was toppled over,” she said. She said she “thought it was weird” that he was looking in a recycling bin because the trash day had been several days prior.

Court documents obtained by 7NEWS show Novaes had recently applied for a restraining order against her husband indicating she was moving forward with a divorce. A week later, Novaes sent an email requesting to withdraw from the restraining order.

Somerville court officials say Novaes and her husband were no-shows for a scheduled hearing last Friday morning, so the restraining order was never issued.

Novaes was an avid churchgoer at nearby Grace Church. Parishioners there said they are in shock over her sudden death.

“She loved the church, life too,” said Laurie Marr, of Grace Church. “She was just that kind of person. I don’t know who would ever do this to her.”

Detectives hope to determine the cause and manner of death after autopsy results are released. In the meantime, the investigation is active and ongoing.

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