Body identified as Patricia McCormick
SUMMIT COUNTY ” The body retrieved from Lake Dillon Reservoir Wednesday afternoon has been positively identified as Patricia McCormick, according to Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson.
The identification was made during an autopsy Thursday morning.
It appears McCormick suffered a medical problem sometime before she presumably lost control of the NAPA pickup truck she was driving the day she disappeared last November, a report from Richardson said.
The truck was recovered frozen in the reservoir a week ago.
“The autopsy revealed that (McCormick) did not drown and had no trauma,” the report said.
Richardson said she will not be able to expand on what the medical issue could have been until results from further testing are available in several weeks.
There is no evidence that McCormick was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident and she was likely ejected from the truck, Richardson said.
The Colorado State Patrol has not released its final report on the wreck yet, but authorities indicated last week that McCormick probably lost control of the truck as she was heading west from Dillon to Frisco along the Dillon Dam Road, launched over the guardrail and tumbled down the steep, rocky embankment into the water.
Frisco NAPA store co-owner Bill Housh said that even though the past week’s events offered closure to a more than four-month mystery, the feeling among McCormick’s former co-workers at the shop isn’t necessarily one of relief.
“Everybody’s kind of down. While she was missing I think there was just a glimmer of hope that she might turn up alive,” Housh said.
McCormick, who lived in Dillon Valley, had worked at the store for exactly one year before she vanished while making deliveries for her employer.
The final cause and manner of death will be determined in the next several weeks by microscopic exam, although it appears the manner of death is natural, Richardson said.
McCormick, who would have turned 63 in early January, disappeared on Nov. 28. An intensive three-day search ensued, but failed to turn up any substantial evidence on McCormick’s whereabouts.
Although local police continued to investigate leads through the winter, the search for McCormick intensified last Thursday when a Summit Rescue Group member spotted a yellow hat commonly affixed to NAPA trucks and other debris scattered along the shore of the reservoir just past the Glory Hole. The debris had been hidden under the snow until recent warm weather spurred melting.
Local rescue divers used underwater cameras to confirm the truck was resting on its wheels about 35 feet below the reservoir. However, divers were unable to locate a body even with the aid of dogs.
The final clue in the case came on Wednesday when two searchers found McCormick’s body embedded in the ice 4 feet off offshore, and about a quarter-mile west of where McCormick’s truck was discovered.