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Body of missing swimmer found in Mill River

  • Search and rescue teams look for missing a woman in the Mill River on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Search crews located the body of a missing swimmer in the area of Bottoms Road in the Mill River about one-quarter mile north, or upstream, of the Clement Street bridge in Northampton on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, at around 11:20 a.m. This view of that general area was taken about 3 p.m. Thursday. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Search crews found the body of a missing swimmer Thursday in the area of Bottoms Road in the Mill River, about one-quarter mile north, or upstream, of the Clement Street bridge in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING



Staff writer
Friday, September 21, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Search crews found the body of a missing swimmer in the Mill River in the area of Bottoms Road Thursday at around 11:20 a.m.

The woman’s body was underwater and beneath a log, according to Northampton Police.

Police and fire personnel from multiple agencies had been searching the Mill River and nearby woods since Tuesday evening, when it was reported that a swimmer who had entered the Mill River near the Arts and Industry Building on Pine Street was missing. High water levels, downed trees, murky water, and strong currents made the search difficult, according to Northampton Police.

Members of the Massachusetts State Police Special Emergency Response Team found the woman’s body.

She was positively identified as the missing swimmer, although police declined to release her name. Northampton Police stated on their Facebook page that while the family of the swimmer has been notified, they were not releasing the name until extended family and friends were also notified.

The woman’s friends informed police that she swam in the Mill River often.

Contractor Zachariah Vaughn, owner of Grace Paint and Tile, was doing a paint job on a house on Bottoms Road when the woman’s body was extracted.

Vaughn said a sheriff’s deputy was wandering around the property before approaching the house he was working on and informing the homeowner of the need for access to the river through their property. Vaughn said forensics vehicles then began to be staged from the property.

“Slowly, more and more people crept out of the woods,” Vaughn said.

Gazette reporter Jacquelyn Voghel contributed to this story.