Body of woman recovered from river

TONASKET – The body of a woman who apparently jumped off Tonasket’s Fourth Street Bridge was found the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the Okanogan River about 300 yards south of the bridge.

Tonasket Police Chief Robert Burks said that an autopsy was completed on last Friday, but as of Tuesday morning had not been able to reach family members with the results.

“What I can say is that no foul play is suspected,” Burks said. “The results were consistent with her having jumped off the bridge.”

Lisa Schell, 44, was reported missing by her husband at about 7:00 a.m. Monday, Feb. 10. Tonasket EMS and Fire were called to assist, Burks said.

Burks added that Schell, who had a history of mental illness, had waded into the river the previous week and had been “talked out” of the water by a passing motorist.

“We didn’t know about that until she was reported missing,” he said.

By 7:30, Burks said, a friend had found her coat at the bridge, and a hole in the ice-covered river was spotted directly below the bridge.

Burks said that the Okanogan County Sheriff Department ascertained that conditions were too dangerous for divers. He said searches continued downriver along the shoreline, as well as in town.

“It looked like she had gone in the water,” Burks said, “but we didn’t want to assume that.”

Burks said one of his officers found her at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday near the west river bank. The Fire Deparment was called to assist.

“I’m glad that we found her so that the family could have some closure,” Burks said.

About Brent Baker

Brent, is a former reporter/photographer for the Gazette-Tribune and sometimes works as a freelance sports reporter for the G-T. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent worked as a full time reporter/photographer at the G-T from 2011 - 2014).