RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — More than 48 hours after two women went missing on Memorial Day when a group of people went over Bosher’s Dam on the James River, the remains of 23-year-old Lauren Winstead have been recovered. Henrico Police said her body was located around 1:30 p.m. about five miles downriver from the dam.
The Richmond Fire Department said Winstead’s body was recovered by a search crew in the water near the Powhite Parkway Bridge. The medical examiner will determine her cause and manner of death.
Search efforts continue for 28-year-old Sarah Erway who remains missing. Officials said the search is now a recovery operation.
Batallion Chief with the Richmond Fire Department, Robert Maass, said teams have been facing some challenges with the search, but it has helped that the river level has gone down since Monday.
“The river level has gone down which certainly helps in the search, but it’s still at an elevated level which makes searching difficult,” Maass said. “The water’s churned up. The water’s nasty. There’s a lot of mud and dirt in the water as well as debris which makes the search difficult.”
According to Richmond Police, the group of 12 kayakers, paddleboarders and floaters had intended to exit the river at Robious Landing near James River High School, but the river level was high – more than nine feet in average depth – causing strong currents and elevated levels of debris. The group missed Robious Landing and was unable to avoid going over Bosher’s Dam, one of the United States’ low-head dams, which are sometimes referred to as “drowning machines.“
Of the group, one person self rescued after going over the dam, and nine people were rescued by emergency responders and good samaritans in the area. The search for the remaining two, Winstead and Erway, has been ongoing during daylight hours since Monday afternoon.
Officials explained that the search for Winstead and Erway was conducted in three stages, as of Wednesday afternoon.
- Phase One – Monday, May 30, 2022: Bosher’s Dam to Z-Dam
- Phase Two – Tuesday, May 31, 2022: Z-Dam to First Break (The western portion of Belle Isle)
- Phase Three – Wednesday, June 1, 2022: First Break (The western portion of Belle Isle) to the James River Bridge (Interstate-95)
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Henrico Police Department at 804-501-5000.
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