Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

Family finds missing loved one’s body in ravine

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A metro family is mourning the loss of their loved one after they found her body in her car crashed into a ravine.

Donna Bartlett, 85, was reported missing around 9:30 p.m. Monday.

Bartlett's family describes her as outgoing.

They said she told neighbors and her family where she was going Monday night so when she never showed up, they knew something was wrong.

Dottie Hill, Donna's daughter, said, "She's 85 years old. She lived on an acre by herself and, up until last year, she mowed her own yard."

She was independent and responsible.

Donna's family always knew where she was and where she was going; it's actually what sped up the search to find her.

OKC Police's Dee Patty said, "They knew her route and so they started checking her route."

Dottie said, "My husband, as soon as it got daylight, he went out. He was determined he was going to check every bridge."

He checked bridge after bridge until he came upon the bridge at S.W. 109th St. and Council in Oklahoma City.

Her 1993 Dodge Shadow, that she bought brand new nearly 20 years ago, was found crashed in the creek.

Dottie said, "I thought if she's off the road I'd see a flash of light but you don't. I drove by that same bridge three times."

The car was nearly hidden.

The few tracks her car left were nearly invisible among the weeds.

Police said Donna's family was lucky to find her so quickly, bringing an end to a search that could have taken weeks had they not known the path she was taking. 

Patty said, "Luckily they got out and looked because where her vehicle was, it was pretty far down in a ravine; motoring traffic would not have seen it."

Dottie said, "She lived the way she wanted to live and she would have preferred dying this way too."

Police and family members said due to evidence at the scene, it is likely Donna died of a heart attack before the crash.

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