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Missing kayaker found dead

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UPDATE (4 p.m.) -- The Peoria County coroner says 45-year-old Sarah Gray died of rapid hypothermia and drowned.

Gray, an experienced kayaker, according to Coroner Jamie Harwood, set off on the Illinois River at about 3 p.m. on Thursday to travel down to the Peoria RiverPlex.

The Peoria County Sheriff's Office said it responded to the missing person report at around 7:30 p.m. at the 9200 block of Cross Street.

A search was conducted Thursday, with the Peoria Fire Department entering the river. The OSF LifeFlight helicopter was also launched to assist, but the search was unsuccessful.

On Friday, the PFD and Illinois Department of Natural Resources continued the search. At 9:14 a.m., said Harwood, the missing kayak was located in the ice, directly east of Derby Road in Peoria.

Gray was found in the water with her kayak.

Harwood said Gray apparently "gotten hung up in the ice and short distance from the shore, and was able to free her kayak; for reasons unknown, she ended up in the water"

No foul play is suspected, said Harwood.


CHILLICOTHE (WEEK) -- Missing kayaker Sarah Gray was found dead in the Illinois River Friday morning.

Illinois Conservation Police said her body was found by her kayak just south of Chillicothe.

She had a floatation device on her.

Gray was 45-years-old.

Alex Menke

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