Deputies describe search for Brownsville woman found in river

A handful of local agencies and volunteers helped to find Suzanne Durheim.

Posted: Jan 17, 2019 5:23 PM
Updated: Jan 17, 2019 6:06 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The body of a missing Brownsville woman was found on Tuesday in the Willamette River, and now deputies tasked with finding her are speaking out about how they were able to give the family some closure.

After an extensive search, deputies with the Benton and Linn County sheriff’s offices found Suzanne Durheim, 65, around 2:20 Tuesday afternoon in heavy brush on the east bank of the river just a mile away from where her car went off the road.

RELATED: Body of missing Brownsville woman found in Willamette River

KEZI 9 News spoke with Kevin Higgins with the Benton County Sheriff's Office, who said it was surreal to find her.

"We were able to get a glimpse of something blue, just under the water's surface, and that drew our attention to that, and then found out that blue was actually her shirt and that was her," Higgins said.

A handful of local agencies and volunteers helped. Higgins said they used boats with sonar equipment, drones, a dive team and even had a K-9 unit. He said it's important they use every resource possible to help give the family closure.

"You want to do the very most respect you can for that person,” Higgins said. “It's hard for us to deal with it also. We have family, and we try to put ourselves in that woman's family's position, and you can only try to imagine what they're going through. So, closure is so important for them, and we try to expedite that as quickly as we can."

The search for Durheim started on Jan. 7 when she didn't show up to work. That same day her family found tracks that went off the road near milepost 1 of Highway 20 near Hewlett-Packard. Authorities pulled out Durheim's truck from the river just two days later, but she wasn't in it.

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