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Nevada County Picayune-Times - Prescott, AR
  • Red River search ends with no result

  • After almost a month of exhaustive searches along the banks and through the depths of the Red River at Fulton, a single hopeful clue produced Wednesday yielded no results in the effort to find an Ashdown woman who plunged into the waters below the river bridge on Interstate 30 on Feb. 8.
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  • After almost a month of exhaustive searches along the banks and through the depths of the Red River at Fulton, a single hopeful clue produced Wednesday yielded no results in the effort to find an Ashdown woman who plunged into the waters below the river bridge on Interstate 30 on Feb. 8.
    Miller County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Dewayne White said Thursday afternoon that the search for the body of Janis Burris Northcross, 43, of Ashdown, had been formally concluded.
    If somebody sees something that would lead us to believe it could be this lady, we ask that they call and let us know,” White said in a telephone interview.
    He said any credible sighting information should be directed to the Miller County Sheriff's Department at 870-774-3001.
    White said the search concluded at mid-afternoon Thursday after a “hit” Wednesday by a cadaver dog which had been brought to the scene by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. A previous search using a different dog had produced no results.
    Searchers and dive teams from the Miller County Office of Emergency Management, U.S. Wildlife Service, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Miller County Sheriff's Department and the Hempstead County Sheriff's Department were on the scene Thursday from about 10 a.m. and throughout the day.
    On the grid that we did, the cadaver dog alerted,” White said. “Unfortunately, our efforts did not produce a desired result.”
    He said that, while the coordinated search has been terminated, a periodic search will continue by the AGFC under a standing order from its state command.
    Searchers, White said, are convinced that Northcross' body is located in the vicinity of the search alert by the specially trained canine.
    I believe she is where the dog alerted; however, the Red River moves a lot of sand and silt along its bottom, and it's our assumption that she is entombed in that sand and silt,” White said.
    Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton said Thursday that the search presence had been reduced to prevent boats from overlapping search areas.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Just getting in the water and wading may get something different,” Singleton said. “We've been down there, but mostly, it has been Game and Fish because the water is not deep enough to put many boats in.”
    Northcross reportedly dove from the I-30 bridge into the river in the predawn hours Feb. 8 to avoid an oncoming jack-knifed 18-wheeler on the icy bridge. Ricky Norwood, also of Ashdown, told investigators he jumped from the bridge with Northcross as the tractor-trailer approached his damaged car after it slid into the bridge railing on an icy patch. Northcross and Kathryn Burris, also of Ashdown, had stopped to render aid, according to Singleton. Burris reportedly fell to the pavement to avoid the potential collision as Northcross and Norwood went over the railing and into the river, according to Singleton.
    All three drivers were traveling caravan-style to work at Firestone Building Products in Prescott when the accident occurred.

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