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By CHRIS FLETCHER/ firstname.lastname@example.org
A body pulled from the Duck River Wednesday may be that of Paula “Lindsay” Sale-Tinney, a 55-year-old Columbia woman missing since March 27.
Sheriff Enoch George said the body, which was found in the water about a mile from the Iron Bridge Road river access point in East Columbia, appeared to be a white woman about Sale-Tinney’s height and build.
“The body was beyond recognition,” George said. “We called a (Sale-Tinney) family member in to ID it, but he was unable to do so 100 percent.”
The remains were taken to Nashville where Medical Examiner Bruce Levy would use dental records to attempt to establish identity, George said.
Sale-Tinney’s car was found abandoned the night she disappeared near the Duck River bridge on Sowell Mill Pike, about 1.5 miles from the home she shared with her husband, Stu Tinney, on Red Bud Lane. George said the Sowell Mill Pike bridge is about 8 miles from the spot where the body was found.
Stu Tinney said his wife had been disoriented and “had not been herself” for weeks after having surgery and having been prescribed numerous medications, including anti-depressants. He said he last saw her in their home a few hours before her car was reported abandoned.
George said the body was discovered about 2 p.m. by members of the Davidson County Rescue Squad using cadaver dogs. Davidson personnel joined Maury County and Hickman County fire and rescue crews, sheriff’s deputies and other agencies in the 12-day search that took more than 250 hours and involved at least 100 people, he said.
George said the body was caught among limbs, logs and other debris in the swiftest part of the river’s current. It was found in a portion of the river that flows through TVA property, where there are no houses, he said.
Culleoka resident Terry Bowman gave a different version of the discovery.
Bowman, who frequently fishes on the river, said he found the body about 1 p.m. using his flat-bottomed boat and a trolling motor. He said he’d been searching the river daily out of compassion for her family since Sale-Tinney went missing.
“If the Lord calls you to do something, you do it,” Bowman said. “Something kept telling me I could find her.”
Bowman said he’d been out on the river for several hours Wednesday using binoculars to scan the banks and looking in debris piles when he located the body about one to 1.5 miles upstream from Iron Bridge Road. The body was floating and caught in a tree that had washed into the river during recent heavy rains, he said.
Bowman said he notified officials by phone of his discovery, then used his boat to lead them to the body and help retrieve it from the water.
George did not immediately return phone messages Wednesday afternoon seeking comment on Bowman’s statements. He said earlier in the day that some fishermen had volunteered to assist in the search.
The sheriff said the search had been hampered by heavy rains as well as the release of water from the Normandy Dam upstream Friday. He said water rose between six and seven feet after the release. His department’s resources also were taxed by having to provide security for the Mule Day festivities, he said.
Story created Apr 09, 2009 – 18:23:52 EDT.