crimesider

Dickinson State University Students Likely Never Saw Pond Their Jeep Drove Into

(Lenny Gemar Photography)
Photo: Ashley Neufeld and Kyrstin Gemar.

DICKINSON, N.D. (CBS/AP) It was a dark road that led to a tragic dead end.

PICTURES: Missing Softball Girls

The three Dickinson State University softball players found dead after their SUV went into a pond on a North Dakota farm during an apparent stargazing trip likely drove straight into the water, police said Wednesday.

Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said the women's SUV was found resting on its wheels Tuesday in about 10 feet of water hidden by tall grass.

(Personal Photo/The Dickinson Press)
Photo: Afton Williamson.

The doors and windows of the car were closed.

"When you're not familiar with an area like that it would have been very easy to drive into," Tuhy said.

The sheriff said the Dickinson State University students were on private property. He stopped short of saying they were trespassing.

PICTURES: Missing Softball Girls

No foul play is suspected in the deaths of Kyrstin Gemar, 22, of San Diego; Afton Williamson, 20, of Lake Elsinore, Calif.; and Ashley Neufeld, 21, of Brandon, Manitoba.

The bodies of the women and Neufeld's dog were found inside the SUV after signals from their last desperate phone calls late Sunday helped lead authorities to the farm.

Police Lt. Rod Banyai said authorities do not expect autopsy results for a week or two. The autopsies will help determine the exact cause of death and whether the women were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Authorities have said there is no indication they were.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol also will examine the 1997 Jeep Cherokee to determine if the vehicle malfunctioned, Banyai said.

PICTURES: Missing Softball Girls

MORE ON CRIMESIDER
November 4, 2009 - Dickinson State University Students Found Dead in Jeep Pulled from Pond
November 3, 2009 - Dickinson State University Students Still Missing: Lake Search Doesn't Find Vanished Girls
November 3, 2009 - Dickinson State University Students Vanish After Phone Call

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