Body may be linked to past crime: police

Police are yet to formally identify the body of a woman found on a soccer field in inner Melbourne.
Police are yet to formally identify the body of a woman found on a soccer field in inner Melbourne.

The discovery of a woman's body on a Melbourne soccer field just a suburb away from the scene of a "terrifying" sexual assault has detectives investigating if the two events are linked.

Police have warned nearby residents to be on alert after the body was found on a field in Princes Park between Royal Parade and Princes Park Drive at Carlton North on Wednesday.

A passer-by found the woman at about 2.40am and she is yet to be formally identified.

Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said his team will investigate if there's any connection to a sexual assault at Parkville on March 28.

"We don't know if they're linked at this stage," he told reporters.

The young American woman who was sexually assaulted recounted her ordeal, which she said took place on Gatehouse Street while she was walking at about 2.35am.

"I was terrified. It was the most terrifying experience I have ever had," she told reporters on Wednesday, describing how she was grabbed from behind, thrown to the ground and assaulted.

Detective Insp Stamper said police were keeping an open mind on whether there's any connection between the woman's death and the assault.

He would not comment on whether the dead woman had been sexually assaulted or suffered physical injuries.

A pair of black shoes were seen near a police tent that was erected on the field, which has been completely cordoned off by police tape.

Officers and SES workers conducted a line search on the pitch, which is opposite Melbourne's general cemetery and close to AFL club Carlton's home ground as well as the University of Melbourne and student accommodation.

The field is also bordered by popular running tracks, with a number of joggers told by police to take a detour upon approaching the crime scene.

Local Superintendent David Clayton said police will ramp up their presence in the area to give locals "reassurance" about their safety and security.

"It'll be highly-visible police presence, at all times of the day and night. They'll be on foot, they'll be on bicycle and they'll be in cars," he said.

He urged people to take responsibility for their safety by being aware of their surroundings at all times.

Local resident Phillip Hides, who visits the park daily to walk his dog, said he has "always felt safe" in the area but that he thought the death was "really tragic".

"It just deepens my sense of how much people's respect for life and other people's rights have actually diminished," he told AAP.

Anyone who may have been in the area early in the day is urged to contact police.

Australian Associated Press