Authorities have opened an investigation into the death of a 16-year-old New Ulm girl who was found face down in a field outside Mankato on Wednesday morning.

The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department was dispatched to a field about 200 yards off Hwy. 68 in Judson Township around 6:30 a.m. on a report of an abandoned vehicle. A deputy located the unoccupied car, stuck in the mud, but found no one nearby, Capt. Rich Murry said in a statement.

A search of the surrounding area led deputies to the girl, who was lying in the field. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim was identified as Hannah Oliva, a junior at Mankato West High School, according to the Mankato Free Press. Oliva’s Facebook page said she worked as a waitress at Lola’s Catering.

District officials notified the community of Oliva’s death shortly after 1:30 p.m. Police visited the school as part of the investigation Wednesday, the Free Press reported.

The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy.

LIZ SAWYER