AFD suspends search, deems report of woman swept into Eagle River ‘good intent call’
Updated at 4:25 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31
Following two separate search efforts, officials found no signs of a woman who was reportedly swept into the waters of the Eagle River Sunday evening.
At about 9 p.m. Sunday, 24-year-old Jonathan Leece said he had been fishing on the bank of the river for about an hour when he heard a “bloodcurdling scream.”
“I mean, she was screaming for her life. It was uncomfortable. It was an uneasy feeling when you heard it, and I did what probably anybody else would do is call 911,” said Leece.
Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Castro confirmed the 911 call in an email Tuesday.
“We received a call at 9:16 p.m. from a citizen that did not want to be contacted that they were under the Eagle River bridge and could hear a female screaming from downriver. Officers and medics were dispatched,” wrote Castro.
Leece said he then waded down the river to figure out where the scream had come from, saw nothing and returned to fishing.
“A couple of minutes after that I heard it again. So, I waded down farther than I did before, and I saw a female, a woman, in a black shirt go around the corner in the river,” he said.
Leece then called 911 to report he had seen someone in the river. Castro confirmed that a caller reported seeing someone floating down the river at 9:37 p.m.
Officers from the Anchorage Police Department arrived on scene about 10 minutes after receiving the first 911 call and began questioning people fishing on the river.
“Officers made contact with two people under the bridge that stated they had been there for 30 minutes and hadn’t heard a thing. Officers started walking up the bank towards the campground and spoke with several people who hadn’t seen or heard anything,” wrote Castro.
The Anchorage Fire Department and the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Fire Department responded after the second call and began searching for the woman.
“We didn’t find anything Sunday evening. We floated the river yesterday all the way down to the second bridge … we found nothing, no evidence,” AFD assistant chief Cleo Hill said in a phone conversation Tuesday.
AFD is calling Sunday’s 911 report a “good intent call” by the witness, and will not investigate further unless a missing persons report is issued by Anchorage police.
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