UPDATE: Missing woman kayaking on Illinois River found dead

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — (UPDATE: 4:00 p.m.) — The Peoria County Coroner confirmed 45-year-old Sarah Gray, who went missing while kayaking on the Illinois River Thursday evening, has died.

Coroner Jamie Harwood said Gray was found partially submerged next to her kayak around 9:30 a.m. Friday. Harwood said the Peoria firefighters found the missing kayak in the ice east of Derby Road in Peoria.

Harwood said Gray’s kayak was hung up in the ice not far from the shoreline. While she was able to free her kayak, he said she ended up in the water for unknown reasons.

The coroner said an autopsy showed Gray suffered from rapid hypothermia and drowning, but he said foul play is not suspected.


(PREVIOUS) — Peoria County Sheriff’s Office deputies are searching for a woman who is still missing after kayaking on the Illinois River Thursday.

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said around 7:30 p.m., they responded to a call from the 9200 block of Cross St. He said 45-year-old Sarah Gray was reported missing by her husband.

Her husband said Gray was originally kayaking on the river towards the River Plex, but when she saw ice in the river, she decided to turn around.

He said she never returned home.

Gray was last seen in an 11-foot pink kayak wearing a yellow life vest.

Deputies deployed two drones while Life Flight and Peoria Fire Department assisted the search. Those search efforts continue Friday.

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