Autopsy Results Consistent with Accidental Drowning - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/01/05

Autopsy Results Consistent with Accidental Drowning

Det. Bill Buttersworth announced the findings at a news conference. Det. Bill Buttersworth announced the findings at a news conference.

It's a missing persons case that's gripped our area and the nation, and tonight it may be over. A woman's body pulled from the Wilmington River last night near the Thunderbolt Marina may be that of missing Swainsboro beautician Cindy Lynch.

Though police have not be able to positively identify the body, they do believe it is Lynch's. Meanwhile the investigation and the questions continue.

Thunderbolt police chief Steve Smith had a feeling the search was coming to a tragic end when sonar boats detected what appeared to be a body last night. It was located about 30 yards from the Lynch family boat at Thunderbolt Marina.

"The body kept moving," said Chief Smith. "That caused the divers a great deal of difficulty. She could have fallen in anywhere along this dockside."

After the body of a blonde woman in black clothing and black boots was pulled from the river, an autopsy was up next.

"Autopsy results have come in, preliminary results, which are consistent with an accidental drowning," said Bill Bell, attorney for Lynch's husband Chet, at a news conference today.

"Everything we knew about her as far as her description fits," said Det. Bill Buttersworth, who's been investigating the case. "It probably is her, but again until we do dental records and positively identify her, I can say only circumstantially that it was Cindy Lynch that we found."

The question now: how did Lynch end up in the water? "There was some superficial injury to the body, some bruising, that was consistent with a fall," said Det. Buttersworth.

The search is over, now the healing can begin. "It will certainly bring some closure to the family in that regard," said Chief Smith. "Then we still have some work to do."

Authorities expect positive identification of the body sometime tomorrow.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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