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Maryland woman leaps to her death

May 28, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

A 24-year-old Montgomery County, Md., woman took her own life by jumping from High Rock near Cascade, police said Thursday.The woman was reported missing Wednesday night, Washington County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Mark Knight said.

The woman's body was discovered between 12:30 and 1 p.m. Thursday about 200 feet down, he said.

High Rock is along Pen Mar High Rock Road, above Pen Mar Park, near the Franklin County, Pa., border. It's a popular launching spot for hang gliders, who need a permit from Washington County.

Knight said he doesn't know why the woman was at High Rock, since she has no ties to Washington County.

He said police were considering the woman's death to be a suicide based on comments her family made and because of clues in her car.

Someone reported seeing an empty red Hyundai near High Rock on Monday, so a sheriff's deputy went by Tuesday and put a warning on it, Knight said.

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He said it's not unusual to see an empty car there; sometimes, Appalachian Trail hikers aren't able to get back to their cars and leave before a gate closes the road for the day.

A military officer stationed nearby saw the empty car on Wednesday and also reported it.

Knight said police saw the car again Thursday morning and did a computer check of the tag. They found the missing person report, which had been filed and entered on a computer Wednesday night.

The report said the woman was missing and "endangered," which could indicate a mental or physical problem, he said.

A Maryland State Police bloodhound and a tracking dog team from Rockville, Md., called Mid-Atlantic D.O.G.S. were called in and found the body after nearly four hours, he said.

Knight said it took about an hour to recover the body. Local emergency workers climbed down, put the body in a type of stretcher called a Stokes Basket and carried it up, he said.

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