Body of missing Fairfield woman found
HAMILTON, Ill. — The body of Teresa Bruegge, a long-time resident of Fairfield, was found Wednesday in the Mississippi River, about 3.5 miles north of Hamilton, Ill., which is across the river from Keokuk.
Hancock County, Ill., Sheriff Scott Bentzinger’s press release late Thursday, said preliminary autopsy results indicate Bruegge died of drowning.
A resident in Hancock County spotted the body Wednesday and notified the sheriff’s office. After the body was recovered, it was sent to Bloomfield, Ill., for an autopsy.
Bruegge, 45, who most recently lived in Mount Pleasant, had been missing since Feb. 14. Her parents and most of her family reside in Fairfield. A relative said Bruegge was last seen Feb. 14.
Henry County Conservation Department found Bruegge’s silver 1992 Dodge Grand Caravan at the end of a boat ramp at Faulkner’s Access on the Skunk River near Oakland Mills County Park the morning of Feb. 15.
Henry County Sheriff’s Office issued a missing person’s notice Feb. 15.
The sheriff’s office, conservation department, Iowa State Patrol and Iowa Department of Natural Resources searched the area around Faulkner’s Access and broadened the search in the following days using airplanes, boats and searchers on foot. Freezing temperatures and ice jams on the river slowed the river search in late February.
The Skunk River deposits into the Mississippi River at the border of Iowa counties Des Moines and Lee, in an area known as Blackhawk Bottoms, and slightly north of Lomax, Ill., across the river. Driving from Lomax to Hamilton, Ill., is just under 30 miles on Illinois Highway 96.
The area where Bruegge was found had not been previously searched. It is believed that the recent flooding caused river currents to take the body to the location in which it was found, according to the Mount Pleasant News.
“We searched from where her van was located at Faulkner’s Access down river for several miles, because in a situation where someone is presumed to have drowned or possibly drowned, they sink right away,” said Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee. “We formed a perimeter of search that was relevant to the climate and the circumstances. Obviously with the flooding over the last few days, it moved her.”
Arrangements are pending at Behner Funeral Home and Crematory in Fairfield.