Sunday, April 14, 2024

Woman found dead in police car in river after cop’s chilling last call | US News

Deputy Robert Leonard’s (left) body was pulled from the Tennessee River hours after a woman’s body was found in his submerged vehicle (Pictures: WTVC)

A woman’s body was pulled from a police vehicle submerged in a river following chilling last messages by a deputy who arrested her.

Deputy Robert ‘RJ’ Leonard took a woman into custody around 10pm on Wednesday after responding to a report of a woman and fighting on a bridge, said Meigs County District Attorney Russell Johnson.

While driving to the county jail, Leonard lost communication with the sheriff’s office in Tennessee.

One of Leonard’s final messages was a text to his wife stating, ‘Arrest.’

A Tennessee woman was found dead in the backseat of a submerged police patrol car (Picture: WTVC)

‘His wife texted back and said, “That’s good,” or, “That’s great,”‘ said Johnson, according to ABC News. ‘We know that his phone did not evidently receive that text.’

Around the same time, the deputy made a radio call to dispatch that was not quite comprehendible.

‘Dispatch couldn’t tell what he was saying,’ Johnson said. ‘We think he was saying, “Water.”‘

Search crews scoured the Tennessee River near the bridge and found Leonard’s vehicle upside down and filled with mud and with the window on the driver’s side rolled down on Thursday.

Dive teams from surrounding counties went into the water on Thursday morning looking for Deputy Robert Leonard and a woman who they believe was in his patrol car (Picture: WTVC)

The woman was found handcuffed in the backseat.

Leonard’s body was recovered hours later in the river, said the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

‘We’re operating under the theory that it was an accident – he missed his turn, he wasn’t familiar and he was doing other things that may have caused him to go into the water,’ Johnson said.

His remains were taken to the Knoxville Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.

Robert Leonard had served as a sheriff’s deputy for a couple of months (Picture: Facebook)

Leonard was married and the father-of-three. He had been part of the force for a couple of months.

‘We would also like to ask our community to keep the family of Deputy Leonard and his colleagues in the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time,’ wrote the sheriff’s office on Facebook.

The woman was not immediately identified. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

It happened 10 months after two fishermen rescued a woman from a Jeep that was almost completely submerged in Lake o’ the Pines in Marion County, Texas.

And on New Year’s Eve, the body of a mother who vanished a decade ago was pulled from a retention pond near Disney World in Florida.

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