Body Found in Hughes River

By: Todd Baucher
By: Todd Baucher

Thirty-four-year-old Mary Teresa Dugan had been missing since Saturday afternoon.

She had jumped into the Hughes River, near the Ritchie-Wirt County line, trying to save one of her children.

As it turned out, the child was able to get to safety, but Dugan was swept downstream.

A nearly two-day search ended Monday just after noon, with the discovery of her body.

"It's been a real difficult search because the water's been murky," said Sgt. Darrell Farley of the Ritchie County Sheriff's Department. "It's receded a little bit and made it a little easier. There's a lot of old tree falls and other things lying on the bottom."

Sgt. Farley says Dugan's body was still in the water when it was found.

Law enforcement officers tell us a lot of people swim in the Hughes River on hot weekends. They say that's not a good idea.

However, Steven Minardi, a conservation officer with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, says people ignore the safety concerns in order to cool off.

"I've been working this area for many years, and on any hot weekend, there will be people down here swimming," says Minardi. "There's no organized place for them to swim on the river here. We've got a pool in North Bend, and there are different pools in Parkersburg, and that's where I recommend people swim.'

Investigators believe Dugan died from accidental drowning.

In all, the search involved K-9 units from Kanawha County, and dive units from Wood County.

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