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Update #3: Body of Missing Woman Recovered from John Day River; Investigation Continuing
08/25/2009
Wade L. McLeod, District Attorney
Sherman County District Attorney's Office
Office: (541) 565-3534
 
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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A Sandy, Oregon woman missing since Saturday evening following a boating incident on the John Day River was found deceased following a four day search by state, county and Corp of Engineer personnel. The woman was presumed to have drowned following an alcohol-involved boat crash near LePage Park. The boat's operator survived and was arrested after he was released from an area hospital following treatment for minor injuries.
 
Oregon State Police (OSP) Lieutenant Patrick Ashmore confirmed the body of MARIE J. RIEHL, age 43, was found in about 46 feet of water August 25th at about 1:00 p.m. Search efforts were assisted by Klamath County Search and Rescue dive team volunteers using special sonar equipment. Visibility was reported near zero and divers found her body using the special equipment about 50 feet from where the boat was recovered on Sunday.

 
On August 22, 2009 at approximately 6:30 p.m. two people were on a 21-foot Eliminator speed boat on the John Day River near the mouth with the Columbia River when the boat's operator lost control. Others boating in the area came upon a debris field in the water where they found the boat's operator, GERALD RAYMOND FITZPATRICK, age 38, from Sandy, in the water with minor injuries. He was not wearing a life jacket. The boat's other occupant, RIEHL, was missing. The boat did not break apart as originally reported and it remained intact.

 
Since Saturday evening, search efforts continued each day involving equipment and personnel from Sherman County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division, Klickitat County Sheriff's Office, Skamania County Sheriff's Office, Army Corps of Engineers, and Oregon State Marine Board.

 
FITZPATRICK was transported by Arlington Ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center for treatment. OSP troopers, working in cooperation with Sherman County District Attorney Wade McLeod, arrested FITZPATRICK upon his release from the hospital Saturday night and lodged him at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR) in The Dalles for Criminally Negligent Homicide and Boating Under the Influence of Intoxicants. NORCOR confirmed FITZPATRICK bailed out during the night.

 
FITZPATRICK and RIEHL resided together in Sandy and were reportedly camping in the area with friends.
 

Questions regarding a pending court appearance on this case should be directed to Sherman County District Attorney Wade McLeod.