published Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

95-year-old woman found dead in Sequatchie River

Sequatchie County Sheriff Ronnie Hitchcock says a 95-year-old native of the county and Hitchcock's wife's aunt, was found in the Sequatchie River Monday night after apparently trying to fetch water for her chickens.

Pauline Cain, who lived off of East Valley Road near Dunlap, was found floating in the river near where it appeared she was trying to fill a container with water, Hitchcock said. The pipes had frozen in her house where she lived alone as a “very independent lady,” the sheriff said.

He said Cain "religiously" took care of her chickens.

The body was found around 7 p.m. CST Monday in the frigid waters, he said.

The tragic discovery was “very sad” for the Cain and Hitchcock families, he said.

National Weather Service officials say the temperature around 5 p.m. CST in the Dunlap area Monday was somewhere between 5 and 9 degrees but the wind chill could have been as low as 15 degrees below zero.

Cain's body has been sent for autopsy to determine the exact cause of death, but Hitchcock said there was no suspicious activity involved.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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