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Day of Tragedy: Missing woman's body discovered in woods


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Columbus firefighters get a ride in a police pickup truck several hundred yards from Marr Road to a staging area near the place a vehicle was discovered. A vehicle matching that of a missing Columbus woman was discovered Friday December 28, 2012 west of Marr Road and south of Rocky Ford Road. The SUV was in dense brush between a field and trail along Haw Creek. Inside the vehicle was a body.  (Joe Harpring | The Republic)
Columbus firefighters get a ride in a police pickup truck several hundred yards from Marr Road to a staging area near the place a vehicle was discovered. A vehicle matching that of a missing Columbus woman was discovered Friday December 28, 2012 west of Marr Road and south of Rocky Ford Road. The SUV was in dense brush between a field and trail along Haw Creek. Inside the vehicle was a body. (Joe Harpring | The Republic)

After clearing away brush, firefighters stand back while Columbus Police Department officers continue to process the scene around a vehicle containing a body.  A vehicle matching that of a missing Columbus woman was discovered Friday December 28, 2012 west of Marr Road and south of Rocky Ford Road. The SUV was in dense brush between a field and trail along Haw Creek. Inside the vehicle was a body.  (Joe Harpring | The Republic)
After clearing away brush, firefighters stand back while Columbus Police Department officers continue to process the scene around a vehicle containing a body. A vehicle matching that of a missing Columbus woman was discovered Friday December 28, 2012 west of Marr Road and south of Rocky Ford Road. The SUV was in dense brush between a field and trail along Haw Creek. Inside the vehicle was a body. (Joe Harpring | The Republic)


Police recovered the body of a missing Columbus woman Friday, discovered inside her white SUV, that was entangled in woods southwest of the intersection of Marr and Rocky Ford roads.

Vonda D. Fivecoat, 57, of the 2900 block of Beech Drive, was last seen alive at 7 p.m. Dec. 20, and her body appeared to have been in the vehicle at least a week, Bartholomew County Coroner Allen Smith said.

There was no immediately cause of death, which Smith said would be determined by an autopsy. As of Friday night, the date and place of the autopsy had yet to be determined, but Smith hoped to have results by Wednesday.

Lt. Matt Myers, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department, said there were no signs of foul play at the scene.

Police discovered the vehicle Friday afternoon after a tip from a resident. Myers said the tipster originally had thought he saw a vehicle’s lights in the woods more than a week ago. When the caller saw media reports of the search for Fivecoat, he called police with his suspicions.

Police also had received several calls of a vehicle in the Marr Road area of the People Trail. Several officers searched that area but did not discover the vehicle until Friday, Myers said. The Oldsmobile Bravada was in woods about 100 yards to the west of the People Trail and Marr Road.

The white, snow-covered vehicle was practically invisible from Marr Road. Heavy, snow-laden branches had pressed around it, further obscuring the vehicle. Those had to be cut away by firefighters before rescue workers could remove her body from the vehicle, or the SUV from the woods.

Fivecoat disappeared from her home on the same day she called 911 to ask for medical assistance, according to police reports. After her disappearance, she did not initiate any banking transactions and had her cellphone turned off, police said.

A statewide Silver Alert was issued Thursday for Fivecoat by the Indiana State Police.

Police had said she suffered from anxiety, depression and paranoia, and they had concerns that she might have been confused and disoriented.

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