A man walking his dog along the Missouri River near Downs Marina in Pierre came across the body of a woman Monday morning, Jan. 6. The partially clothed body of the adult female was found on the river bank in the woods next to the river about 250 yards east, or down stream, from the Marina’s peninsula that separates the Marina from the river, said Police Capt. Bryan Walz.
The man walking his dog called 911 at 10:09 a.m., Monday, Jan. 6, to report that he had discovered the body.
“The dog located the person,” Walz said of how the body was discovered.
Down’s Marina is near the corner of South Washington and Sully avenues just east, or downstream, of Griffin Park, not much more than two blocks from Avera St. Mary’s Hospital.
The area by the river bank 250 yards east of the Marina where the body was found, however, includes an “unkept” trail of sorts, that is perhaps a wildlife trail in the woods that is not really conducive to people using it, Walz said.
It’s a dirt trail, mostly, now muddy as temperatures have risen to around 40 degrees in recent days, showing tracks mostly of of deer, dogs and small mammals. In some areas of it on Monday, there were human tracks. Next to it, the river bank is fairly steep, from 10 to 15 feet down to the water.
There is no close access for a vehicle where the body was found, Walz said. And there was no indication that the body reached that spot via the river itself, he said. But parallel to the dirt trail on or near the river bank is the wider Lewis and Clark trail, about 20 yards north of the river and covered with snow and ice. It was clear Monday that law enforcement officers used vehicles on that trail Monday to get close to the site on the river bank where the body was found.
There are no outstanding reports of any women missing that might be a lead to identifying this body, Walz said. But, he said there was no indication the body had been there a long time, such as several months.
The body will be taken to Sioux Falls for an autopsy, Walz said.
The police are not releasing a lot of information about the body’s condition or other factors due to the pending autopsy and need for further investigation.
Walz said there is no indication at this point to think there is any obvious connection to the body of Corrine Faye White Thunder, which was found in June 2019 in 10 feet or more of water in the west end of the Marina inside a car.
White Thunder was 30 when she was last was seen in early December 2017, and the condition of her body and the car indicated they had been there for 18 months or more. That investigation is still ongoing.
Walz asked that anyone with any information about the woman, who has not yet been identified, call the Crime Tips Line at (605) 773-7420.