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Divers locate body of woman missing in Piscataquog River

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 30. 2015 3:12PM

GOFFSTOWN — Police responding to a noise complaint arrived, instead, to a frantic search for a missing woman whose body was found Sunday morning in the Piscataquog River. Her name was not released.

The 35-year-old woman went missing around 11 p.m. Saturday while boating in the Namaske Lake area of the river. Her body was recovered about 12 hours later by divers from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, one of several agencies that joined the overnight search as hopes of finding the woman alive faded with every hour.

"We started preparing for recovery operations to occur basically at daylight near the recovery scene on the eastern bank of the river," Fish and Game Lt. James Juneau said.

Goffstown police Sgt. Dave Rivard said the woman's name would be released once her relatives have been notified. Rivard said it was unclear how the woman ended up in the water and disappeared beneath the surface, something investigators expected to learn when they spoke further with the other people who were on board the 19-foot powerboat Saturday night.

"That's what we're still investigating," Rivard said.

Rivard said officers spoke briefly with some of the boaters during the search, but the focus at the time was still trying to find the woman alive.

Although she is presumed to have drowned, cause of death won't be determined until the state medical examiner completes an autopsy scheduled for Monday. Toxicology tests, which can take several weeks to process, may also provide more information.

"Preliminary information suggests that alcohol may have been a contributing factor," Juneau said.

New Hampshire State Police, Fish and Game as well as Goffstown police and fire personnel staged the search operations from a dock down the hill from the end of Riverview Park Road, which runs along the eastern bank of the river.

Yellow police tape blocked off access to the dock, which was not visible through heavy woods on the hill leading down to the river.

Juneau said the search in the water was suspended around 3 a.m., but continued on the surface and shore areas. He said conservation officers placed buoys to mark locations based on witness accounts and used the markers once divers were able to start searching a grid pattern around 9:30 a.m.

"The body was located fairly close to what we had marked as a point last seen," Juneau said.

Namaske Lake is actually part of the Piscataquog River, a small body formed where the river backing up to the Kelley Falls Dam. Juneau said there was little current, which made it easier to plan the search grid.

"It's dark, murky water," said Tim Socha, who lives at the end of Riverview Park Road. "It's probably tough to find a body."

Socha and his wife, Kim, were out of town for the weekend but had heard from neighbors about the search. Kim's brother, John Allard, owns the home across the street which authorities used as a staging area with access to the dock.

"Neighbors called and we knew what was going on," Tim Socha said. "Still, when you hear there's 20 cop cars in your yard and you're not home, it's a little alarming."

Public Safety Goffstown

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