Woman who went missing just before tornadoes hit drowned, coroner says

Catherine Clayburn, reported missing just hours before the Memorial Day tornadoes only to be found in a creek a week later, died from an accidental drowning, Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger ruled.

The 71-year-old Harrison Twp. resident was found under stacked trees in a muddy creek near the Stillwater River.

It’s not clear if the tornadoes had any impact on her death, but the death certificate does indicate Clayburn drowned in the creek during a tornadic storm, said Erik Blaine, coroner’s office operations director.

Bob Clayburn spoke about the challenges of his wife’s dementia, how he searched for her in their neighborhood when he realized she had stepped out of their home and about their life together.

He said they had been married almost 50 years.

Sheriff's deputies and detectives and the Ohio Division of EquuSearch searched for Clayburn with the help of the public.

Bob Clayburn thanked the community for their help in the days after her body was found.

“When I think about it, it’s what moves me to tears,” he told News Center 7’s Mike Campbell. “It’s just the outpouring of support, both professional and private.”

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