by Mike Grant Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — Authorities say a body found on Friday afternoon is that of a Des Plains, Ill. woman who had been missing for almost three months. The Pike County Coroner announced Saturday that the body was Cathryn (Catie) McGill, 31. Authorities had been searching for McGill since the truck she was riding in was swept away by floodwaters over SR 257 into the East Fork of the White River. The body was found around 1:45 Friday afternoon on top of some corn stalks at the mouth of a creek that empties into the river.
“A man who has a cabin near there came across the body,” said Indiana Conservation Officer Mike Kellner. “He had been working with emergency crews since the searches began and he and his friends had been keeping an eye out for her.”
The area was near where crews had spent extensive time searching for the missing woman. “We had searched that area before,” said Kellner. “When the river floods it naturally flows toward that creek and the debris gets caught there. We aren’t certain what happened. It could have been that her body just recently was pulled into that area.”
The location was further up river than one that was extensively searched by police after several personal items that were in the truck were found floating in some debris. “Those items were moving on top of the water right away,” said Kellner. “They were found further to the southwest.”
The search began after the McGills left following a visit with family in Daviess County on Dec. 29, 2013. Cathryn McGill’s husband drove around the barricades on SR 257 and into the flood waters of the East Fork of the White River. The pick-up truck was washed off the road and into a field where it began to sink. Some duck hunters saw what was happening and managed to pull Adam McGill from the water. They were unable, though, to find Cathryn.
“The dynamics of the flood water there made for quite an extensive search,” said Kellner. “The weather conditions also complicated the recovery. The extremely cold weather coupled with the extended high water made it more difficult. We have had officers launching boats into the river to search it for the last several weeks. There were others who came in and worked on foot going through the debris.”
Besides conservation officers, the Daviess County and Pike County coroners’ offices assisted with the recovery along with Jefferson Township Volunteer firefighters and Indiana State Police. Throughout the long search process volunteers and members of the Pike County and Daviess County sheriff’s departments also helped.
An autopsy on Saturday confirmed the cause of death as drowning.
“In cases like this the real tragedy is the loss of life,” said Kellner.
“Finding her is a relief. We wanted Catie found for the family and we wanted to do all we could to get that done. When a loved one passes you have things you have to do to move on. Everybody, emergency personnel and volunteers and the neighbors stayed with this until they found her.”