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Body found in river that of missing woman

Published: Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT
Katrina Smith

ROCKFORD – More than 2 weeks after 30-year-old Katrina Smith vanished from her Machesney Park home, authorities confirmed that the body found Friday in the Rock River was hers.

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department used dental records Saturday to confirm that the body was that of Smith. Winnebago County Sgt. Larry Marino said the cause and time of her death are yet to be determined.

“We’re trying to just move forward to determine what happened leading up to her death,” Marino added.

Todd Smith, 45, reported his wife missing on Oct. 23. She was last seen Oct. 22 as she left her Tetterhall Lane home in Machesney Park to run an errand.

Winnebago County Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro said Smith’s abandoned vehicle, purse and cellphone were found scattered near Schoonmaker Park weeks ago. Volunteers found bloody paper towels in that area but it is unclear whether they are connected with the case.

Family members, friends and volunteers joined officers’ efforts by creating search parties and posting fliers seeking information about Katrina Smith’s whereabouts. Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Nov. 1 to pray for her return.

The case took a turn Friday when an off-duty firefighter fishing in the Rock River near Byron saw a body in the water, ensnared in a submerged tree. Winnebago County detectives were called to the scene along with members of the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department.

Rescuers said the body had been in the water for a significant amount of time and had begun to decompose.

Though the body was clothed, the garments were faded and unidentifiable.

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