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Apparent drowning victim pulled from lake (UPDATE)

SoVaNow.com / June 12, 2013
UPDATE: According to the state Medical Examiner’s Office, the body recovered in Buggs Island Lake at Clarksville on Saturday has been positively identified. The use of fingerprints confirmed that the body was that of 57 year old, Kathy Keiling of Danville. Her family has been notified of the identity. She was reported missing on May 30, 2013 by the apartment manager.


***

(WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013) The body of a woman pulled from Buggs Island Lake on Saturday may be that of a missing woman from Danville.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Bobby Hawkins said authorities believe the victim of the drowning may be the same person, a 57-year-old black female, who has been the subject of a search this week in Danville.

“I got called around 5:45 p.m. Saturday, saying a body was found floating in the lake about a quarter mile from the old railroad bridge off Forest Hill St. in Clarksville,” said Hawkins. A boater out on the lake smelled a foul odor coming from a pile of debris that had washed into the cove after the weekend’s storms. The boater called the Sheriff’s Office immediately after seeing the body.

Hawkins said the bloated and sun scorched corpse had been in the water for an extended period, making it impossible to identify the victim by looking at it, but he acknowledged that it was “a female.”

Members of the Sheriff’s Office dive team, working with Clarksville Police officer James Crawford and officials with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, were able to retrieve the body, which was then sent to the Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond.

There was no obvious sign of foul play and deputies are operating under the assumption that the woman drowned, said Hawkins. However, the official cause of death must come from the Medical Examiner.

After checking with local law enforcement, Hawkins was told by Fred Clark, Halifax County Sheriff, to check with Danville police. “He said he recalled hearing about a missing person from the Danville area,” Hawkins said. On June 7, the Danville Register & Bee reported that Danville Police were looking for a 57 year old black female named Kathy Marie Kieling, who was last seen on May 31 walking near the Dan River.

Lt. Chris Whittemore, working with the Danville police, sent a DNA analysis off to the lab, but have not heard back from the lab as of press time. However, Hawkins said, there is “a really good possibility that it is the woman missing from Danville.”

Hawkins surmised that since the Dan River flows into Buggs Island Lake, and with the amount of water and debris that floated down river after Friday’s heavy rain, there was a good possibility that the body was “pushed here along with the logs.”

According to the Danville Register & Bee, “Kieling was reported missing by concerned members of her apartment staff who had not seen her in a few days. [Danville Police Lt. Scott] Eanes said she was last seen walking along the Dan River, but no one has been able to ‘pin down’ an exact time she was last seen.”

They also reported that a search of Kieling’s apartment indicated “no signs of a struggle” and that her keys and cell phone were in the apartment. Danville’s Life Saving Crew Special Operations crew searched the river around Kieling’s building “and came up with nothing.”

Danville police Captain Matthew Carter confirmed that “the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Danville Police Department this past Saturday in reference to Kathy Kieling.”

The body was sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Richmond where a cause of death and positive identification is pending. The results may take several weeks. The Danville Police Department is working closely with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and Medical Examiner’s Office to determine if the deceased is Kathy Marie Kieling.

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