Shocked neighbours recalled hearing screams from woodlands hours before the body of an 18-year-old man was discovered.
Police were called out to land just off Middlewood Road, towards Oughtibridge, Sheffield at around 8am yesterday morning.
The mother of two young girls said they were disturbed by sounds as they slept in their bedrooms, which back on to the land, in the early hours.
Later other residents of Middlewood Road were woken by the sound of ambulances racing to the scene, where paramedics pronounced the teenager dead.
South Yorkshire Police said it is not currently treating the death as suspicious.
Mother-of-three Charlotte Green, 39, who lives nearby, said: “My two girls who are 12 and 14 sleep at the back of the house. They said they heard screaming in the night.
“It could just have been kids messing around, but they did hear something.”
Catherine Sayles, 60, said: “I did hear a lot of noise when I let the dog out the back at about 10pm, it sounded like a lot of young people laughing. The woods run right along the back of these houses.
“I heard lots of police cars zooming past in the morning. There was a police car and a responder car and then a bit later an ambulance went tearing past at tremendous speed.
“It’s sad. If the young man was from Oughtibridge then it will be a huge shock, there are lots of families who have lived there all their lives.”
Locals say the woodland, near to Middlewood Park, is well-used by the community, particularly dog-walkers and runners and close-knit communities surround the beauty spot.
One Middlewood Road resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “It’s very sad. The woods are always busy, full of families and people enjoying them
Motorist Guy Aspinall, 42, from Chapeltown, spotted the police activity on Middlewood Road while he was driving past. He initially saw four police vehicles and some tarpaulin covering the top of some of the trees, then a funeral director’s vehicle parked at the scene later.
The father-of-five said: “To have found out that someone so young has died is really sad – I have children myself, two who are a similar age.”
The case has been passed on to the coroner.