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Search suspended for woman who fell from icy bridge

Feb. 16, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

FULTON, Ark. (AP) - The search for a missing Ashdown woman who either jumped or was knocked into the Red River in southwestern Arkansas during a multivehicle accident earlier this month has been officially suspended, according to the director of the Miller County Office of Emergency Services.

"We did everything possible. I'm terribly disappointed," Larry Pritchett told the Texarkana Gazette on Saturday regarding the search for Janice Northcross, 42.

Arkansas State Police said Northcross was helping a stranded driver on an icy Interstate 30 bridge when she went over a railing and into the river as a jackknifing 18-wheeler skidded toward her on Feb. 8. A second person who also went into the river was quickly rescued.

Crews have searched almost continuously ever since, battling freezing air and water temperatures while using boats, drag lines, side-scanning sonar, a cadaver dog, ground crews and a helicopter in an effort to find and recover Northcross' body.

"We searched on the river by helicopter almost two hours (Saturday). We searched from the air from the bridge downriver almost to Garland City. We looked on both sides of the river. We didn't find her," Pritchett said.

Other than a pair of shoes recovered by a search crew and identified by family members as belonging to Northcross, there has been no sign of the woman since the accident.

The Army Corps of Engineers cut back the flow of water from Millwood Lake spillway Monday, which reduced the level of the Red River near Fulton, where Northcross disappeared.

Pritchett said the lowered water levels made objects such as logs and stumps more visible from the air. He said those objects were checked on the ground but did not yield any new information.



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