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W.Va. woman's death puzzling to family, friends, authorities

June 09, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

A woman whose body was found inside a pickup truck in the Potomac River Monday morning leaves behind two teenage sons, a wide circle of friends and family members wondering what led to her death, the woman's brother said.

Betty Crawford, 42, of Hedgesville, W.Va., was living with her fiance and had a 16-year-old son and a 19-year-old son, said her brother, Steven Crawford.

Police continue to investigate Crawford's death, but have not received an autopsy report.

"Basically it's a wait and see (situation) until we get the autopsy back," said Lt. K.C. Bohrer of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department. "We have no reason to believe it was anything other than an accident."

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Bohrer said the report is not expected to be filed for a couple of weeks. Because the Potomac River is in Maryland's jurisdiction, Crawford's body was sent to the Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore.

Crawford's body was found inside a 1982 Chevrolet Scottsdale pickup truck about 10:40 a.m. Monday. Police said the truck belonged to her fianc.

Witnesses reported seeing the truck go into the river just after midnight Monday. Authorities from Maryland and West Virginia searched the water then, but were not able to find the truck. They returned later Monday morning, said Steve Allen, director of the Berkeley County Office of Emergency Services.

The truck went into the water near Dam No. 5, which is south of Clear Spring.

Crawford grew up in Jefferson County and graduated from Jefferson High School. She previously worked at Royal Vendors, her brother said.

He said family members have no idea what Crawford was doing at the river.

"We're all still at a loss," Crawford said. "That's the biggest question we've asked ourselves."

Crawford said Donald Cutlip, Betty Crawford's fiance, told him the couple went to bed together Sunday night, but that Cutlip woke up alone Monday morning. Family members then began calling each other, trying to find her, Crawford said.

The loss has been especially hard since another of Betty Crawford's brothers died in a car accident almost exactly 19 years ago, Steven Crawford said.

Betty Crawford is being remembered as a devoted mother and caring woman, her brother said.

"Probably at the funeral there's going to be a lot of people," Crawford said. "She made everybody around her happy."

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