Three bodies found in Tully pond identified as missing trio

Melissa M. Avery, 26, Jamie A. Bell, 34, and Maryssa F. Houston, 5, were reported missing by New York State Police on Tues., June 13 (photo provided)

TULLY, N.Y. - Three people who were reported missing Monday have been linked to a report of three bodies that were found inside a vehicle submerged in a pond in Tully Tuesday afternoon, state police confirmed.

On Tuesday, police responded to the area of Route 80 and Gatehouse Road after a trooper discovered damage to a nearby guard rail and stop sign. Further investigation led to the discovery of the missing vehicle submerged in Gatehouse Pond, authorities said.

The bodies of Melissa M. Avery, 26, Jamie A. Bell, 34, and 5-year-old Maryssa F. Houston were pulled from the vehicle by state police scuba divers.

An autopsy is scheduled to determine the official cause of death. Police say their investigation is continuing.

Avery's mother, Mary Godfrey, posted to her daughter's Facebook page Tuesday.

"This is an extremely hard time for our family, losing all 3 of our girls are at once. We are truly devastated," Godfrey said. Jamie Bell is Godfrey's sister and Maryssa Houston is Godfrey's granddaughter.

Godfrey said a candlelight vigil will be held for the three victims at 7 p.m. Thursday at the corner of Route 80 and Gatehouse Road in Tully.