Registered nurse Jennifer Moore, 50, had just finished the late shift at the hospital where she worked when she decided to go out to eat with her husband, Charles. They drove in separate cars just after 1:00 a.m. local time. It started to rain, and Charles said he was talking on the phone with his wife as they drove through the storm. When they reached Tumalt Creek in Dodson, he stopped to help his wife navigate the road, which was flooded with water.
According to an official press release, “Before she reached the location, while they were still on the phone, he [Charles] heard her scream and panic, and then he heard crashing sounds,” deputies said. “He says the phone disconnected.”
Charles quickly went back to see if he could find his wife, but he ran into a wall of mud and rock 20 to 25 feet high. Unable to traverse the terrain on his own, he soon called for help.
It took authorities a full 10 days to find Moore’s body trapped below 15 feet of earth.
A Treacherous Search and Rescue
Local authorities began searching the area for clues about what happened, using drones and thermal imaging devices to pinpoint her location. After a few days of searching, they found some debris where they believe her vehicle eventually came to rest, positioned upside-down. They used heavy pieces of machinery, including dump trucks and front loaders, to carefully remove debris from the rock and mud.
Officers had to use caution as the mud continued to shift beneath their feet. They soon hired a private contractor, Concrete GPR, to use a high-powered metal detector to locate the missing vehicle. With a path in sight, they used their gear to carefully pull the car out of the mud.
They changed their mission from a search and rescue to a recovery on January 14th.
“It’s not the outcome everyone would have hoped for, but at least at this point, it brings closure to the family and allows them to begin the grieving process,” River Patrol Unit Sgt. Steve Dangler said in the official press release.
Her husband Charles added, “”She’s a hardworking person and a good person. I want to thank all the search and rescue teams that have been putting themselves at risk.”
Putting Moore to Rest
Now that officials have found her body, her loved ones can start to heal.
One of her colleagues, Stephanie Lawson, wrote on social media, “Our beautiful Jenny has finally been found. Although I thought I might feel relief on this day, I don’t.”
She later added, “The pain, disbelief and devastation is still here. I’m reminded about how tragically this beautiful soul left our earth. I know healing takes time but for today, I’m still utterly heartbroken for my friend, Jennifer Moore.”
Moore was a nurse at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center for over 17 years, according to the facility.
Her loved ones have set up a GoFundMe page in her honor. They have already raised over $28,000, surpassing their original goal of $5,000. The money will be used to support Moore’s husband and two children.
“Her physical absence is still surreal; it seems that her laugh will fill the hallways of work again. We all keep waiting for her to yell our names from the nurses’ station or give us another dreaded admit,” the page reads.
Many of her friends and colleagues shared messages online, referring to her as “an amazing woman”, a “compassionate nurse, trusted colleague, a wife, a mother, and a wonderful friend.” “Her infectious laugh brightens any room, and her kindness extends to all she meets,” another post reads.
The community is happy to have closure, but can never replace what they have lost. The GoFundMe page ends with a quote from author and disability rights activist Helen Keller: “What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”