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Body Of Missing Visitor Found In Shenandoah River

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

National Park News

Local police came upon a Buick LeSabre in the park’s river access parking lot on December 18th – a lot that is posted closed at dark. Over the next few days, rangers periodically checked the vehicle, finally impounding it on December 21st for violation of the closure restriction.  An inventory was performed on the Buick and several items were discovered in the trunk that lead the rangers to believe the owner of the vehicle – Maryruth Woods, 76, of Silver Springs, Maryland – might still be in the area.  As temperatures had been well below freezing for several days, the rangers performed a quick hasty search of the riverbank. The following morning, rangers, together with NPS special agent Tim Alley, began an investigation into Woods’ disappearance. An expanded search of the area, including river banks along the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers and hiking trails and shelters along the Appalachian Trail, was undertaken with the help of a number of park maintenance employees, C&O Canal rangers, and Maryland DNR officers.  At approximately 11:40 a.m., ranger Eric Sheetz discovered a body in the water on the east bank of the Shenandoah River, approximately 100 yards north of the Shenandoah River Bridge. The body was positively identified as Woods’. The cause of death is currently undetermined. The investigation has been turned over to Harpers Ferry Police Department, as the body was found outside of the park’s jurisdiction.


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