ONLY ON 3: Missing woman’s brother speaks after finding body in river
While conducting their own search, family members of Alice Reynolds located her body on Wednesday morning, caught in brush along the Tennessee River. Charles Reynolds never stopped searching for his sister after she disappeared from her South Pittsburg home on Christmas Day.
UPDATE: While conducting their own search, family members of Alice Reynolds located her body on Wednesday morning, caught in brush along the Tennessee River.
"My uncle had a little flat bottom boat. He got it out there, and thank The Lord, we found her and got her out of the water," said Charles Reynolds, brother of Alice Reynolds.
He never stopped searching for his sister after she disappeared from her South Pittsburg home on Christmas Day.
"I borrowed money to buy waders," he said.
Reynolds searched day and night, long after police and volunteers went home.
"They left. I stayed and walked the creek banks to see if she'd pop back up," he said.
It's still not clear how the woman ended up in the creek near her Birch Avenue home.
"Our family has been through this once before," explained Reynolds.
He said his uncle disappeared years ago, and his body later turned up in the river.
"Took eight years to find him in the water, and I was determined that my sister was not gonna be in that water for eight years," he said.
"But we know where she's at, and is at rest."
Investigators are looking into Reynolds' official cause of death. Her body was sent to the TBI Crime Lab in Nashville, where autopsy results are pending.
PREVIOUS STORY: The body of Alice Reynolds found by family members in the Tennessee River Wednesday morning, according to Chief Robert Simpson of the South Pittsburg Police Department.
The family members obtained a boat and conducted their own search, and discovered Reynolds' body.
The body will be sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's forensic lab for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
PREVIOUS STORY: The family of a woman who vanished during the Christmas flood still hopes she will be found alive.
Rescue crews say there is little more they can do, at least right now. Witnesses say they last saw Alice Reynolds by the water's edge of a creek near Birch avenue in Marion County, Friday.
Authorities say the water is still too high to do any good and with the help of volunteers and surrounding counties, they've exhausted all efforts. Alice was seen on Facebook posting pictures of the flood waters near her house Christmas morning. Police say her phone hasn't been used since. Officials believe she was accidentally swept away by the current.
" We thought for sure we would find her earlier and every time we search these places and come up with out her... it's very disappointing," said Chief Robert Simpson, South Pittsburg Police Dept.
Chief Robert Simpson has suspended the search for now, rescue teams have been out searching since she went missing Christmas day.
"To this point we've had to put a pause on the search, just simply because the river level is so high," said Chief Simpson.
Crews spent hours looking through the mile-long underground culvert near her house and it was cleared Monday. The culvert empties out into a creek bed where the water is 10-20 feet deep. Hamilton County STARS deployed a swift-water and flood rescue team on Tuesday. The team searched the creek twice and found nothing.
"There's just nothing we can do, we can't put anymore people at risk," said Chief Simpson. "The family is here every single day. They have been with us the entire time. Even when we leave, they still stay and they're looking for her."
Family members say Alice had Christmas dinner cooking on the stove when she went outside. They say she was excited about her granddaughter coming over for a visit.
"It's heartbreaking for the family and those are the ones we care most about," said Chief Simpson.
The creek empties into the Tennessee river, where the current is even stronger.
" We just hope we find her in our little section of this creek before the river so we can get her out and give her family some closure," said Chief Simpson. " If she made it to the river... there's no telling how long it could take before we find her."
Since the creek washed over some of the roadways, the Police Chief says Alice could have been pushed out and underneath an out-building or some type of brush. Authorities are asking everyone in the area to be on the lookout. If you see anything suspicious or have any information that could help investigators, call South Pittsburg Police Dept at call 423-837-5003.
PREVIOUS STORY: Alice Reynolds’ family and first responders are racing to find her before the next storm comes. It’s not clear exactly how Reynolds ended up in this creek Christmas Day.
Police can only go off what eyewitnesses tell them. Some say she fell, others say she stepped into the creek Friday.
First responders couldn't get in the creek Friday and look for her because the water currents were too strong. After the rains stopped on Saturday and Sunday, they searched open areas, but found no signs of Alice.
"We already looked through the shallow parts of the creek up ahead where she initially fell in" Robert Simpson, Chief of Police, South Pittsburg Police Department.
They redirected their attention to a culvert. Chattanooga fire department deployed firefighters to South Pittsburg Monday to search the culvert, they came back up with only themselves.
"I don't know it's kind of hard we didn't get a resolution to this just yet. But all we can do is keep searching," said Simpson.
The family says all they can do now is rely on their faith and use their strength to pick up logs, hoping Alice is underneath.
South Pittsburg Police don't believe any foul play is involved at this time. They are asking the community to keep their eyes open over the next few days. If you have any information that can help investigators call 423-837-5003.
PREVIOUS STORY: It’s not clear exactly how Alice Reynolds ended up in this creek Christmas day. Police can only go off what eyewitnesses tell them. Some say she fell others say she stepped in Friday.
First responders couldn't get in the creek Friday and look for her because the water currents were too strong.
“There was no way we could search for her, except to look out into the banks in people's yard and see if someone washed up,” said Robert Simpson, Chief of Police, South Pittsburg Police Department.
But Saturday they began their search. They started in the area where witnesses say they last saw her around Birch Avenue.
“We already looked through the shallow parts of the creek up ahead where she initially fell in,” said Simpson.
With no sign of Reynolds Saturday, police called the search off. Sunday they moved a mile down the road, hoping a body would turn up.
“We are out here trying to do everything we can for the family. They are very concerned about her” said Simpson.
Investigators want to check a culvert, but they have to wait until Monday to go through it because of unsafe conditions
“When you have flooding like that, you have sewage spilling over into the drainage system and that methane gas can be poisonous,” said Simpson.
Investigators will send a remote camera through the culvert Monday to search for Reynolds, who is believed to be in her forties.
South Pittsburg police say they don't believe any foul play is involved at this time.