PRINCETON, MASS. >> Investigators say the death of New York City woman visiting her mother in a rural Massachusetts town appears to be a homicide.

Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said Monday that 27-year-old Vanessa Marcotte was reported missing after failing to return from a Sunday afternoon walk in Princeton.

Her body was found at about 8 p.m. Sunday by a state police canine unit in a wooded area about a half-mile from her mother's home. An autopsy is scheduled.

Early did not provide additional details.

It's unclear if the death was a random act of violence. Princeton police Chief Michele Powers is urging town residents to remain vigilant.

Princeton is located about 40 miles west of Boston and has about 3,500 residents. Early says Marcotte grew up in nearby Leominster.