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UPDATE: Jessica Lee's death still under investigation in Pulaski County

Sunday, August 11, 2013 | 6:17 p.m. CDT; updated 6:34 p.m. CDT, Sunday, August 11, 2013

COLUMBIA — Jessica Lee’s body was recovered Friday evening in Waynesville by a local rescue team. The 23-year-old mother had been missing since the morning of Aug. 6, when her car was swept off the road in a flash flood, Pulaski County Sheriff Ronald Long said in a news conference on Saturday.

Lee’s body was discovered three and a half days after she disappeared. Water carried her 3 miles from where her car was caught in the flood. No information about the witnesses who saw her carried downstream is being released because police are still investigating the death.

Lee made her final call for help at 4:52 a.m. Tuesday morning, Long said. Lee was on her way to drop her 4-year-old son, Elyjah Lee, at a babysitter’s. Elyjah’s body was discovered at 7:34 a.m. Tuesday morning 500 yards from the point of entry. Lee’s car was also located nearby. Jessica Lee’s body was recovered 3 miles downstream, 200 yards from Waynesville Memorial Chapel on Historic Route 66, where Elyjah’s body lay.

Local law enforcement and volunteers searched for Lee for three and a half days. They had difficulty finding her because her body was several feet underwater until Friday evening.

“We did the best we could using all resources," Long said. Those resources included boats in the water, people on foot and on ATVs, and aircraft flying overhead.

Michael McCart, deputy coroner for Pulaski County, called Missouri Task Force 1 at 6:30 a.m. Friday. A search and recovery team, including cadaver dogs, was on site by 10 a.m. The dogs were trained to detect human remains underwater.

The flood caused extensive damage in Waynesville. As of Saturday, 47 homes had been destroyed and hundreds more had sustained significant damage. County officials were unsure of the cost of damage.

Supervising editor is Shaina Cavazos.


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