EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 20, 2012

Woman seen plunging from Falls Bridge is missing

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — LAWRENCE -- A woman is believed to have either fallen or jumped from the Falls Bridge around midnight last night and she remains missing, police said.

The woman was seen straddling the railing on the east side of the bridge by another woman who was travelling south on the Central Bridge, just downstream on the Merrimack River.

The woman on the Central Bridge became suspicious, made a U-turn and stopped her car, then saw the woman on the Falls Bridge plunge into the river in the middle of the bridge. She screamed and looked down but saw no sign of the other woman.

She called her mother, who told her to call police. The call was made at 12:05 a.m.

Police Chief John Romero said the witness, who was on her way to pick up her boyfriend at the train station in South Lawrence, is considered credible by police.

"She was able to describe what she saw in detail," he said. "We believe someone did go into the river."

Romero said the stormy weather last night prevented the deployment of a search helicopter, though one was expected to go up sometime this morning. A search of the riverbanks by Lawrence police and firefighters and of the river by North Andover Fire Department boat found nothing.

Romero said the woman who went into the river was described as white, with dirty or light blonde hair in a ponytail, wearing a peach-colored top and blue jeans. The witness could not estimate her age.

Romero said the woman is believed to have walked onto the bridge because the only two cars nearby were traced back to their owners, with no apparent connection.

Romero said police found no missing person reports or reports of distraught family members. They are asking anyone with information to call them at 978-794-1500, extension 500.