Discovery of 4 dismembered bodies in Oklahoma river turns missing persons case into murder probe
A dismembered body recovered from the Okawa River may have been that of a teenage girl, police said Sunday and released the details of the investigation into her mysterious death.
Investigators recovered the body of an unidentified white female in the river on Monday, according to the Okawa Police Department, which said they were working with the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation to search for more human remains.
The body was found on Tuesday and was identified as 19-year-old Kelsey Deanle.
A cause of death had not been determined, but preliminary autopsy results on the body were inconclusive, police said.
The victim and her case remain a mystery at this point, said Okawa police spokeswoman Stephanie S. Schoettmer.
“We haven’t identified her, and we’re still looking for any evidence to possibly link her to what happened to her,” Schoettmer said.
The discovery of the body on Monday — the same day a police officer rescued two people from a submerged vehicle — led to the development of the investigation into Kelsey’s death, Police Sgt. Brandon S. Folsom said.
Officers had begun investigating Kelsey’s disappearance after she failed to return from vacation at the weekend. A search and rescue operation was launched early Monday morning and rescue efforts continued throughout the day as the Okawa River flowed above the dam.
Schoettmer said investigators believe the body was dragged behind a boat for nearly 1 mile, and evidence at the scene indicated a struggle occurred, but she would not provide more details.
“We’re still in the investigative phase, and we’re not sure why she’s dead,” Schoettmer said.
The Okawa River is a Class 2, or very dangerous, river with high levels of pollutants. The only way police believe the body could have traveled from one body of water to another is if it was placed in the water on its own.
“That would be very unlikely and extremely difficult to do,” Schoettmer said.
Authorities continue to ask anyone with any information concerning Kelsey’s disappearance to contact police at 405-522-5244.
A dismembered body recovered from the