CONWAY, N.H. – The body of a Portland woman who disappeared last weekend was recovered Wednesday from a pond not far from where her car was left running with her 14-month-old daughter inside.

Authorities had been investigating the disappearance of 20-year-old Krista Dittmeyer since Saturday. A passer-by alerted police around 6:30 a.m. after noticing her Nissan Sentra sitting in a parking area at the Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway with its engine running, flashers blinking and Dittmeyer’s child in the back seat.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office announced that Dittmeyer’s body had been found less than two hours after a hearse entered and left the ski resort’s grounds Wednesday afternoon.

“It is with great sorrow that I tell you we located the body today of Krista Dittmeyer. She was found in what is known around this area as Duck Pond,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said during a brief news conference at the ski resort Wednesday evening.

Young said Dittmeyer’s body was being taken to Concord, where it will be examined today by the deputy medical examiner. Authorities may be able to disclose the cause and manner of her death after that examination, she said.

Young would not say whether authorities have any suspects, or why authorities focused on the pond Wednesday. Police, fire and ambulance personnel started working at the site, behind a maintenance facility, Wednesday morning.

In the afternoon, a truck pulling a New Hampshire Fish and Game Dive Team trailer joined them in a cordoned-off area of the resort, where the pond is located.

A black hearse accompanied by a black SUV from a limousine service entered the area around 4:45 p.m. They went into the cordoned-off area and left about 15 minutes later, led by a state police cruiser.

Young said Dittmeyer’s family had asked her to relay a message asking the media not to try to contact them for a few days.

Dittmeyer’s mother, LaNelle Shackley, who lives in Bridgton, and her other daughter, Kayla Dittmeyer, did not return phone calls left for them earlier in the day.

A candlelight gathering will be held tonight at the Stevens Brook Elementary School in Bridgton, starting at 8 p.m.

Sandy Pasquale, who organized the gathering before the community knew about Dittmeyer’s death, said it’s something the town needs to do as part of its healing process.

Pasquale, whose daughter is about the same age as Dittmeyer was, said she expects more than 700 people to attend, based on a Facebook page called “Help Find Krista Dittmeyer.”

“I always had this feeling of hope. When I heard what happened, I just broke down. This whole town, everyone is devastated,” Pasquale said.

The disappearance of Dittmeyer, a 2008 graduate of Lake Region High School in Naples who worked as a waitress in South Portland, prompted a large search of the area Saturday.

Her disappearance made headlines around the nation. The case was featured on “Nancy Grace” on CNN and on the website of “America’s Most Wanted.” On Wednesday, eight satellite TV trucks were parked at the ski resort.

The investigation initially involved Conway police and New Hampshire State Police. The FBI provided agents Tuesday. Their investigation involved a search of two vehicles — Dittmeyer’s and another from the village of North Conway.

Police did not provide details about the second vehicle, and Young said Wednesday that she would not comment on other investigative steps.

Young urged anyone who has information about where Dittmeyer was on Friday and Saturday to call the Conway Police Department or state police.

In June, Dittmeyer was living in South Portland with her boyfriend, Kyle Acker, 26, when he was arrested on charges of trafficking in cocaine and marijuana and having a loaded firearm in the couple’s apartment.

Police had received a tip that neighbors believed Acker was selling drugs because many people were coming and going from the apartment. Acker allowed officers to search the apartment and they found 15 grams of cocaine, 2 ounces of marijuana and a 9 mm handgun near the drugs.

Acker told police that he had been selling drugs for about six months, since being released from jail, and that he had been in jail for nonpayment of child support, although Cumberland County court officials could find no record of that.

Acker was sentenced in January to two years in prison for drug trafficking. The remainder of his $2,000 in bail money, after $505 in fines, was to be given to Dittmeyer, according to court records.

Acker remains in the state prison system. 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report. 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at [email protected] 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at [email protected]