West Branch DuPage River

Authorities Call Off Search for Woman Swept Into West Branch DuPage River

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With flood waters continuing to rise, authorities in suburban Winfield have called off the search for an 18-year-old West Chicago woman who was swept away by the West Branch DuPage River on Friday.

According to authorities, the woman, who has autism, was walking two dogs in the Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve Friday night when she attempted to cross a flooded bridge. While trying to move through waist high water, the woman was swept away by the current.

A witness riding his bicycle saw the woman get swept into the river and tried to help her, but couldn’t reach her before she was carried away by the current. One of the dogs the woman was walking was rescued, but the other dog was not located.

More than 100 search and rescue personnel searched the river from Winfield to Warrenville on Saturday. Even using boats equipped with sonar and infrared-equipped underwater drones, as well as helicopters, volunteers and rescue personnel were not able to find the woman.

After more rain fell Saturday and with rain in the forecast Sunday, authorities have called off the search until water levels on the river subside, according to Tony Martinez, director of community relations for the DuPage Forest Preserve District.

“Our hearts go out to the family at this tragic time,” DuPage Forest Preserve District Police Chief David Pederson said. “We are very appreciative of all the help we have received from the numerous agencies and volunteers who assisted us in this exhaustive search.”

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