- Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 09:59
- Published on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 09:59
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Westmoreland County Sheriff C.O. Balderson this week thanked searchers who found the body of a missing Montross woman in some woods not far from her home on Feb. 27.
Balderson identified the victim as 85-year-old Francis Branson. “What started out as a search a rescue operation, unfortunately became a recovery effort,” said Balderson.
Branson, who disappeared from her home about 36 hours before she was found, apparently died of exposure as a result of the frigid temperatures that blanked the area during the time she was lost. Weighing 100 pounds, she was clad only in blue jeans and a shirt when she was found. Authorities said she suffered from dementia. “We had a lot of people looking for her, but unfortunately we were too late,” Balderson said.
Balderson said more than 120 searchers took part in the effort to locate Branson, including sheriff’s officers from King George, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Richmond and Westmoreland counties; fire departments from Cople, Westmoreland, Oak Grove and Colonial Beach; rescue squads from Colonial Beach and Montross.
Also assisting were the Virginia State Police, Westmoreland Emergency Services, staff from Westmoreland State Park and Virginia Emergency Management.