Investigators seek cause of woman’s death

Investigators are trying to find out what led to the death of a 41-year-old Memphis woman whose body was found last Wednesday afternoon in Douglas Lake.

Sheriff Bud McCoig reported that deputies responded at 2:38 p.m. after residents of the Rupert Drive area in Dandridge spotted the woman’s body floating near the shore while they were out for a walk on the lake bottom.

The sheriff said investigators believe they have identified the woman, whose home address was in Cordova, but her identify is being withheld pending notification of her next-of-kin.

After recovery by deputies and paramedics with the Jefferson County Emergency Medical Service, the body was transferred to the University of Tennessee forensics center for autopsy. McCoig said a preliminary examination revealed no evidence of trauma, and no evidence of a struggle has been found.

Deputy Cynthia Breton reported that the body was face down in the water and fully clothed. She and Sgt. Curtis French located a black 2005 Mercedes C-230 about two hundred yards away at the Moon Hill Lake Access area. The vehicle had Shelby County plates.

McCoig said he worked with Memphis Police, who went to the victim’s address and were told by another resident of the apartment complex that she had mentioned only that she “would be gone.”

The sheriff also located a fisherman who recalled seeing the woman at the lake access inside the black Mercedes on Tuesday.

“The time between when he saw her and when she was last seen in Cordova would have given her just about enough time to make the drive from Memphis,” McCoig said. “But she didn’t have any relatives or friends in this area, as far as we know at this point.”

The fisherman said he recalled seeing her inside the vehicle at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

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