published Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Body of woman found floating near Williams Island

  • photo
    Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press Members of Volunteer State Marine Rescue gather the body of a woman found floating along the bank of Williams Island in the Tennessee River on Wednesday afternoon.

The vultures led to her body.

The group of black birds perched in a tree caught the eye of 71-year-old Lance Parker on Wednesday as he rode in a boat around Williams Island on the Tennessee River.

"And then we saw something below it," he said. "We couldn't tell from where we were. I thought maybe it was a cow or a deer. So I pulled over closer to it, and it was a body."

Parker found the woman's body floating face down near the north end of the island about 3:30 p.m. The body was still clothed, he said.

"It had boots on with wedge heels. The boots went up to about the knee. We could see spandex," he said.

Parker called 911 and waited for authorities to arrive.

Volunteer State Rescue Service and Chattanooga Fire Department boats were used to reach the body, which was taken to the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office.

"It may be a couple of days before we are able to identify her," said Chattanooga Police Department spokeswoman Officer Rebecca Royval.

Investigators did not comment on whether there were obvious signs of trauma, saying they would wait for the outcome of an autopsy.

Authorities are looking into the possibility that the body belongs to a missing woman.

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Veritas said...

If the body belongs to a missing woman when the authorities find her will she come forward and claim the body? What do they teach in journalism these days? The sentence should have read "the body may be that of a missing woman".

February 17, 2011 at 9:56 a.m.
ltate23 said...

I truly feel like the first line of this article is completely unnecessary, not to mention crude. This woman has loved ones, and reading about "the vultures that led to her body" is so disgusting to read. It is a hard enough and sad enough story and there is no reason to make it even more degrading.

February 17, 2011 at 9:59 a.m.
babyjayne said...

Was it really necessary to resort to sensationalism with the first paragraph of this article? Not only am I outraged by the insensitivity of Ms Burger, it also reads like a very bad novel.

February 17, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.

Please keep in mind that this young woman(my cousin) has family memebers who have, no doubt, already read your poor choice of words. Due to the nature of this tragedy, we will be forced to re-experience the pain and grief once more. Please be mindful of your words when reporting as well as commenting. While little can be done to make this situation better, please spare her friends and family the unnecessary heartache of having every detail tactlessly splattered across the front page. I understand that this is news, however, simply think before you write and show the compassion and respect you would expect if it were your loved one.

February 17, 2011 at 11:46 a.m.
msphil said...

What was Ms Burger thinking when reporting the finding .The comments The vultures led to her body. The group of black birds perched in a tree ..maybe it was a cow or a deer.These quotes were both unnecesary and cruel.Was you editor on vacation-no experienced reporter would recount our loved one in such a manner.She was a Mother,Daughter and dear Friend to us-How would you feel Ms Burger

February 17, 2011 at 3 p.m.
ltate23 said...

When the first line implies that there were vultures on the body that was found, when that was in fact not the case, then it is sensationalizing the story. There is no need to make the story any worse than it already is by adding undue fiction.

February 17, 2011 at 5:27 p.m.
ava said...

Poor use of words. She was someone's loved one. It helps to put yourself in someone's shoes before speaking or writing!

February 17, 2011 at 5:39 p.m.
dude_abides said...

paying attention, I hear what you are saying. At least the truth is the truth, even if it hurts. So let me just say that you are an idiot with no compassion for the loved ones who may read this trash. A phycologist(sic) would probably tell you that reporting sordid details would be detrimental to the "phycological" well being of the people that knew and loved this woman.

February 17, 2011 at 7:19 p.m.
dude_abides said...

The issue I have is with the macabre statements that open this article. The details of the way in which she was found could have been given without evoking nightmarish scenes. I'm sure you'd agree that there is a line that shouldn't be crossed when providing certain details. I think a more antiseptic approach would called for here. More Joe Friday, less Edgar Allan Poe.

February 17, 2011 at 10:26 p.m.

Forget it. She doesn't see how distasteful the story was because she is comparable to a vulture herself. Hovering over every lewd detail of an already horrific incident only to gain. These aren't people with lives or families to her. It's a scoop.

February 17, 2011 at 10:52 p.m.
B_Truthful said...

Reporting the news use, to carry a certain class, distinction and honor that guaranteed the respect of the reader. Now everything in America seems to have sunken to tabloid status. The more gruesome the telling of a story the more sensational?

February 18, 2011 at 10:53 a.m.
kasb1963 said...

As a friend of this woman who was found, it disgusted me to read these first two lines of this story. It is heartless to write such things knowing that friends and family will read this. This is not how we want Jennifer to be remembered.

February 18, 2011 at 11:58 a.m.
rosebud said...

This is crude, insensitive reporting that A) would have been tossed in the trash by most writers, and B) would never have made it past any competent editor. Welcome to the 2011 Times Free Press. With any luck, maybe they'll lose their lucrative legal notice $$$ (thanks to some good legislators) and this reporter and editor will be the first to go.

February 19, 2011 at 8:38 a.m.
Echo said...

Ms. Burger.

I assure you that not a single reader gave up on your article after the first sentence, or they would not have known whose body was recovered. If someone's hypocritical sensitivities were offended, perhaps they should get their news from Reader's Digest.

The real question is what kind of 71 year old guy knows what a "wedge heel" is? Spandex? hmmm.

February 20, 2011 at 1:01 a.m.
babyjayne said...

Echo, her name was never mentioned in the article.

February 20, 2011 at 9:33 a.m.
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