Body found in Dillon Reservoir
SUMMIT COUNTY ” A two-person search team located an adult female body partially embedded in the ice of the Dillon Reservoir Wednesday afternoon, 200 yards from where Patricia McCormick’s truck was pulled from the waters late last week, said Summit County undersheriff Derek Woodman.
Though circumstances point to the possibility that the body is McCormick, a positive identification will not be made until an autopsy is completed this morning, said Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson.
McCormick, 63, has been missing since Nov. 28, 2005. The NAPA truck she was last seen driving was found in the reservoir last Thursday.
Summit Rescue Group member John Agnew and Summit County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Cale Osborn spotted the body at about 1:45 p.m. 4 feet offshore, and about 200 yards west of where McCormick’s crumpled truck was located.
Rescuers pulled the woman from the reservoir at about 5:15 p.m.
An autopsy will be performed this morning in Jefferson County, which will hopefully shed some light on whether the victim died of natural causes or if the death was accidental, Richardson said.
Agnew is the same searcher who originally found debris from the truck along the shore of the reservoir last Thursday, leading to the recovery of the truck.
“(Agnew) couldn’t let this go at all; he was out here every day,” Woodman said.
Summit Water Rescue Team divers spent two days diving and using underwater cameras trying to locate McCormick last week, but on Saturday afternoon authorities suspended the search until the ice began melting because of safety concerns.
Nevertheless, rescuers and sheriff’s office personnel continued to revisit the area off the Dillon Dam Road each day to scour the shoreline for signs of McCormick, Woodman said.
Tuesday evening they had passed by the spot where the remains were found, but warm temperatures Wednesday allowed the ice to recede enough to reveal the body, he added.
If the body turns out to be that of McCormick, it will end a four-month mystery about what happened to the Dillon Valley woman, who was last seen delivering auto parts in Keystone for her job.
“I don’t think that you ever get closure. It’s something the family will have to deal with in their own way. It’s just hard,” said Summit County Sheriff John Minor.
The day following McCormick’s disappearance local police launched a full-scale search of the county that included looking beneath the reservoir with underwater cameras in the Snake River inlet off Swan Mountain Road. They covered other areas by foot, vehicle and snowmobile before calling off the search in Summit County due to poor weather.
All along, authorities had planned on a second search sometime this spring when the snow began melting. Agnew found debris from the truck along a steep embankment just past the Glory Hole the same day he attended a meeting at the sheriff’s office to discuss plans for a future search.
Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at email@example.com.