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Police Find Body Of Melissa Lehew After She Was Swept Away By Flood Waters

HARFORD CO., Md. (WJZ) -- Authorities say they have found the body of Melissa Lehew, who was swept away by flood waters Friday night.

The body will be taken to the Chief Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

The 72-hour search ended Monday, when the woman's boyfriend said he found the body of Lehew while searching a quarry near where she had vanished Friday night.

The search for Lehew was suspended Sunday after two Baltimore City search divers were flown to Maryland Shock Trauma for treatment after being injured during their dive.

Kyle Bowman, Lehew's boyfriend, said he was the one who made the discovery of her body when he got a group of people together and went out to search.

"As soon as we were in the lake I saw her floating maybe a hundred yards off from where I put the kayak in from," Bowman said.

"At least now we found her and we don't have to go diving in that lake. At least we recovered her at least." He added.

The body of 67-year-old Daniel Samis, of Abingdon, was recovered previously by police on Saturday.

They say around 6 p.m. a car got stuck on Route 136 and James Run Road. Police say one person was in the car were trapped in raging water on a bridge.

According to witness accounts, at about 6 p.m. on Friday in the area of Route 136 and James Run, a vehicle with someone inside became disabled on the Broad Run Bridge due to rushing water that had submerged the vehicle up to its roof. A truck with a man and a woman pulled up to the scene and attempted to assist.

Lehew was swept away by flash flooding Friday night. She and her boyfriend were trying to rescue another driver trapped on a bridge, when police said the water overpowered her.

"A woman inside of the truck got out and tried to assist the people inside the vehicle. She was subsequently swept over the bridge by high water," says Ron Snyder with Maryland State Police.

The woman and a man from the truck retrieved a rope and tried to assist the motorist in the vehicle on the bridge. At some point, the woman trying to assist fell and the man with her helped her up only for her to fall again before being swept over the bridge and into the rushing water of Broad Run.

She had been recording as her boyfriend, the driver of the truck waded in, to try and rescue the trapped driver in the car. His family said the video stops when she gets out of the truck to help, but the water was too powerful.

The driver of the truck was able to drive to an adjacent quarry in search of the woman and then sought assistance from those in the area, who called 911.

As a witness was on the phone with the 911 operator, he saw the disabled car go over the side of the bridge and get swept down the body of Broad Run.

A vehicle was located later in the evening about a quarter of a mile from the scene, but high water conditions made it initially too difficult to confirm whether it was the vehicle from the bridge and whether any of the potential victims were inside of it.

Fire officials reported at least 25 swift water rescues across the county. First responders from surrounding areas and even Pennsylvania were called in to help.

Samis and Lehew both have now been found, but those close to them are still coming to terms with the discoveries.

"I still am having a hard time believing it," Brian O'Connor, Samis' friend.

O'Connor was a longtime friend, and said Samis was a family man and devoted volunteer.

He was a president and active member with the Knights of Columbus.

"We all are mourning the loss of a brother. We call each other brothers and we are all mourning it. It's like you're losing a brother," O'Connor said.

Samis' daughter told WJZ over the phone and said that her dad was the most important person in her life.

Two people dead from an intense summer storm, that state police are calling tragic.

"At this point I think most of the questions have been answered," said MSP spokesman Ron Snyder. "We know why they were there, we know what happened to both victims at this point in time. Unfortunate that this is just a tragic case where a confluence of events came together,"


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