breaking news

Sheriff: Heavy storm debris made locating missing Harrison Twp. woman difficult

Published: Tuesday, June 04, 2019 @ 9:19 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 05, 2019 @ 3:00 PM

The remains of a 71-year-old woman who went missing hours before 15 tornadoes struck the Miami Valley may have been found near the Stillwater River Tuesday evening.

UPDATE @ 3 p.m.: The body of Harrison Twp. resident Catherine Clayburn, who was reported missing hours before more than a dozen tornadoes swept through the Miami Valley, was found caught in storm debris in a receded creek at the Stillwater River.

Content Continues Below

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said heavy debris from storms and tornadoes on Memorial Day made the search for the 71-year-old more complicated.

 

The sheriff said there is a large drop-off down to the creek and wooded area where Clayburn was found.

It is unclear if she died in that area or if storms carried her body to the creek, said Streck.

The Ohio Division of EquuSearch, which found Clayburn, assisted with the search and helped comb through areas that were impassable for sheriff’s investigators because of storms and debris.

 

Streck said debris was stacked as high as 15 feet in some of the areas where teams were searching. 

UPDATE @ 2:55 p.m: 

The cause of death for Catherine Clayburn has not yet been determined, after her body was found in a wooded area on Shiloh Drive Tuesday night, according to Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent E. Harshbarger. 

Clayburn, 71, went missing on Memorial Day hours before the tornado outbreak and was the subject of a missing adult alert and several searches through Tuesday. 

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck will hold a media conference at 3 p.m. to provide the latest details. 

UPDATE @ 2 p.m.: 

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. to provide the latest on the remains found on Shiloh Drive in Harrison Twp. Tuesday night. 

» PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Search continues for missing woman

The remains are believed to be those of 71-year-old Catherine Clayburn, who went missing on Memorial Day just hours before tornadoes slammed the region. 

» READ MORE: 15 tornadoes confirmed in region on Memorial Day night

We’ll update this story as details become available. 

FIRST REPORT (June 4):

Sheriff's deputies and detectives have found what are likely the remains of 71-year-old Catherine Clayburn, the Harrison Twp. resident who went missing on Memorial Day a few hours before tornadoes slammed the region. 

Montgomery County sheriff's deputies, sheriff's detectives and three members of the Ohio Division of EquuSearch gathered Tuesday evening in a wooded area off the dead end of Shiloh Drive in Harrison Twp., near the Stillwater River and just beyond Blue Ridge Drive -- not far from Clayburn's home on Floyd Avenue. 

They were handing out flyers about the 71-year-old woman and were moving storm debris when they discovered the remains. 

A county coroner’s vehicle arrived on scene just before 9 p.m. 

The sheriff’s office at 9:48 p.m. canceled an Endangered Missing Adult Alert issued for Clayburn.

An autopsy likely will be performed to confirm the remains are that of Clayburn.

Clayburn does have some early onset dementia, Sheriff Rob Streck has said. 

Catherine Clayburn

Photographs were taken Tuesday night, in the second visit to an area near the Clayburn home. 

Streck said deputies began searching for Clayburn about 5:30 p.m. on Memorial Day, roughly five hours before the tornadoes slammed the region. 

They never stopped searching, he said, and hoped to add the Ohio State Highway Patrol helicopter to their efforts.

We will update this developing report as we learn more.

If you have a news tip, call our 24-hour line at 937-259-2237 or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com