EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 21, 2012

Woman still missing after plunge from Falls Bridge

LAWRENCE — A woman is believed to have either fallen or jumped from the Falls Bridge around midnight Friday 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 from the middle of the bridge.

She told police 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 Friday night initially prevented the deployment of a search helicopter. A search of the riverbanks by Lawrence police and firefighters and of the river by the North Andover Fire Department boat found nothing.

The helicopter was in the air during daylight hours yesterday, but did not locate the woman.

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 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.

“We’re hoping somebody has some information,” Romero said.

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