UPDATE 6:15 p.m. – Sergeant Mike McClure with MSHP Troop D confirmed the recovered woman was 49-year-old Annette L. Mesicek of Mount Vernon. McClure said Christian County Coroner Mandy Armitage pronounced her dead at 7:05 p.m. March 25. Next of kin has been notified.
UPDATE 3/26/2023 4:23 p.m. — KOLR10 spoke with Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole, who said the woman was found at approximately 5:30 p.m. March 25. Cole said she was located much farther downstream than expected.
Cole said the victims were caught right as flood waters began rising and Thursday night’s heavy rain made seeing the road ahead nearly impossible. According to Cole, the driver wouldn’t have been able to see the water over the bridge.
The car stalled out on the bridge as the water rose, bringing limbs and debris with it, Cole said. Cole also added that the three people who were in the car stood on top of the vehicle waiting for help. A man and a woman were able to get to shore, but the driver could not.
At this time, the woman’s identity has not been released to KOLR10.
UPDATE 3/26/2023 11:21 a.m. — Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole told KOLR10 that the missing woman’s body was found Saturday evening. The woman’s family has been notified.
WEBSTER COUNTY, Mo. — After two days of searching, water rescue crews continue to look for a missing woman in flood waters near Fordland.
“We’ve had help from multiple departments, Logan Rogersville, Webster County, Battlefield,” said Sergeant David Browns with Missouri State Highway Patrol. “Everybody’s been out here working. We’ve had officers throughout the day, night.”
When the car was swept away by flooding at Finley River Crossing Thursday, March 23, two people escaped the car safely. The driver is still nowhere to be found.
“One of the issues with the extent to the level the river reaches as far as its maximum height, it just makes it really difficult,” Browns said.
On Friday, water levels were still high at the river crossing on Route Z. The bridge over the river was not even visible.
By Saturday, cars were able to pass over the bridge safely, but search crews say the water is still higher than usual.
“Finley River in this location, the normal river, a normal for its normal levels can range anywhere from a few feet just to mid-shin,” said Browns. “With all the rain runoff, it’s muddy right now, which reduces the visibility of what we can see.”
One woman says she has not seen something like this happen in the area the entire time she’s lived in Webster County.
Crews will continue working to find the missing driver and bring some relief to the family.
“They’re hopeful. At this point, it’s being realistic with the family. It’s a closure. And we’ll be out here until we can help the family find closure,” said Browns.