Police & Courts

Illinois sheriff believes body recovered from Mississippi River is missing Galena woman

Laura Kowal
Posted: Aug. 11, 2020 10:00 am

LAGRANGE, Mo. -- A northwest Illinois county's sheriff's department believes the body recovered Sunday night from the Mississippi River at LaGrange is a missing Galena woman.

The Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Department said it received information from the Missouri State Highway Patrol that a woman's body was recovered. The Sheriff's Department said the woman's description and identifiers are consistent with 57-year-old Laura A. Kowal, who was last seen at noon Friday at her rural Galena home. However, a positive identification has not been made.

Kowal's white Honda Pilot was found in Warsaw, Ill., about 20 miles north of where the body was found by the Hancock County Sheriff's Department..

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said it hoped an autopsy will determine the cause of death and identity of the woman.

Sgt. Eric Brown, a public information officer for the highway patrol, said the autopsy will likely be completed by the Boone County Medical Examiner's office in Columbia at a future date.

"Foul play is not suspected," said Brown, who added it is unclear how long the body had been in the water prior to its retrieval.

The effort to retrieve the body began Sunday evening when a 911 call was made about a body being in the river near LaGrange. Search and rescue teams were dispatched at 6:23 p.m., and boats from multiple law enforcement agencies and volunteers were quickly launched. The body was recovered about 7:30 p.m.

Brown said on Sunday evening that there were conflicting reports about a second person being in the water. On Monday, he said the investigation has determined that only one person was in the water.

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