AUBURN — The body of a woman was found early Sunday floating in the pond known as “The Basin,” off Holbrook Road.

A death investigation was being conducted, according to a prepared statement from Auburn police Deputy Chief Jason Moen. Moen said the woman’s identity won’t be made public until the chief medical examiner completes the autopsy.

Scott Peters of Lewiston, who went to The Basin early Sunday to fish, said he and his friend Jim Hixman of Auburn were preparing to launch their canoe when they saw what they thought was a plastic bag floating about 20 feet offshore.

Peters said Hixman paddled out about 15 feet and saw a woman’s body floating face-down. He immediately returned to shore and they called 911.

The men, who are regulars at The Basin, had arrived at about 4:30 a.m., about 20 minutes before sunrise, Peters said. Because it was still dark, they did not notice the body right away and didn’t see anything unusual along the shore, he said.

When Auburn police arrived, they used Peters’ canoe to paddle out to the body, turned it over and came right back to shore. Police hauled Peters’ boat back on land and asked the men to leave, Peters said.

A police diver was seen going into the water at about 10:30 a.m. About 20 minutes later, an unclothed body could be seen on shore.

Holbrook Road, by the former C.P. Wight School, was closed for most of the day while police investigated the scene.

Auburn police are being assisted by detectives from the Maine State Police Major Crime Unit.

Moen said the investigation is in the “preliminary stages.”

No further information was available Sunday night.

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