Missing Reedsport woman's body recovered from Smith River

Over the course of several days, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office narrowed the search for a woman reported missing from Reedsport.

Posted: Jan 28, 2021 3:04 PM

REEDSPORT, Ore. — Search crews and deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office recovered the body of a missing Reedsport woman from the Smith River on Tuesday after gradually learning the circumstances of her disappearance over the course of several days.

Last Friday, a Douglas County deputy was notified of a vehicle stopped on the side of Lower Smith River Road above Reedsport. The caller reported finding a dog near the vehicle, and said that he had taken the dog with him.

The deputy did not see any evidence that the vehicle had been involved in a crash, and the doors were locked. A check on the license plate found that it was registered to a woman in Winchester Bay. DCSO said that the deputy drove to the owner's house, but no one answered the door.

Two days later, DCSO received a report of a missing Reedsport woman, 70-year-old Margaret Lucretia Garrison. Garrison had left the town of Lakeside on Thursday afternoon, and had spoke to an acquaintance over the phone later that day.

The person who reported Garrison missing gave a description of her vehicle and license plate, which the investigating deputy recognized as the vehicle found on Lower Smith River Road days prior — prompting a return to that location, and a search for Garrison.

"It was later discovered the vehicle had been purchased by Garrison, but not been registered in her name at the time of initial report," the Sheriff's Office said. "At the time there were no indications the vehicle was associated with Garrison, nor had she been reported missing."

Deputies contacted several local hospitals to see if Garrison had been admitted, but they did not find her.

By Monday, Douglas County Search & Rescue was brought in to search the area on Lower Smith River Road, finding some items that belonged to her. On Tuesday, DCSO launched a boat to search the river.

Eventually, two men in a drift boat reported finding a body in the middle of the river, about a mile downstream from Garrison's vehicle. Marine deputies identified the body as Garrison's, recovering her from the river.

Garrison's death is still under investigation by the Douglas County Medical Examiner's Office, although the Sheriff's Office does not currently consider it suspicious. Her next of kin has been notified.

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