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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Death at park ruled suicide

Thursday, March 22, 2007

GRAND GULF -- Apparent suicide is what Oregon County Sheriff Tim Ward is calling the death of a Willow Springs woman found dead at the bottom of Grand Gulf State Park.

Ward said Dixie Diane Hill, 48, was apparently alone when she slid down a 45-foot slope breaking her neck.

On March 13 law enforcement officers with the Howell County Sheriff's Department were notified Hill was missing by her husband, Larry Hill.

The Hill's live at 3720 County Road 150 in Willow Springs. Larry Hill reported his wife failed to receive or return repeated cell phone calls.

Chief Deputy Eric King said Grand Gulf State Park attendant Nettie Greve found an unattended Isuzu SUV in the parking lot when she was closing the park gates March 13 near dusk. King said Greeves reported the vehicle to the Oregon County Sheriff's Department. After his department learned the vehicle belonged to Hill and that she had been reported missing, the search for her began.

Law enforcement officers from Oregon County including emergency management, fire and rescue and conservation and Department of Natural Resources personal searched for Hill until the early morning hours March 14.

Ward said they resumed their search at daylight that same morning. Local officers found Hill's body around 8 a.m.

"She apparently walked across the natural bridge at the park and onto the Bussell Branch trail at the top of the canyon," the sheriff said.

He said the debris on the back of her pants led him to believe she was sitting down when she began to slide down the steep hill.

"We found several items including cigarettes and sunglasses in a plastic bag identified as belonging to Hill near where we believed she slid down the slope," King said.

Oregon County Coroner Tom Clary pronounced Hill dead at the scene. Her body has been sent to Springfield where Ward said an autopsy will be performed.

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