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Woman's body found in lake

Jul 24, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 28-year-old Riverton woman whose body was recovered from Pilot Butte Reservoir Saturday afternoon.

Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan identified the victim as Dawn Michelle Day. He said the cause of her death remains unknown after an autopsy conducted Sunday in Loveland, Colo., came back inconclusive.

"We'll let the pathologist go ahead and do all their work," McAuslan said, adding that the full report is expected in four to six weeks.

"We will continue to work with the sheriff's office here to get the details on what happened," he added.

According to the sheriff's office dispatch log, at about 1:40 p.m. on July 21, Wyoming Game and Fish wardens discovered a body in the reservoir, commonly known as Morton Lake. The body of water is roughly seven miles west of Kinnear on the north side of Highway 26.

Sheriff's Capt. Ryan Lee said his office initially was contacted by wardens, who were working in the area, to assist in a search for a woman who was at the lake with friends and had disappeared.

"Evidently, the group found the wardens in the area and asked for their assistance in locating the missing woman," Lee said in a news release. "The wardens then contacted our agency to assist with the search and the circumstances."

In a follow-up interview, Lee said he did not know how long it had been between when the group realized the woman was missing and when wardens found her in the water.

He said members of the Riverton Search and Rescue division recovered the woman's body on the lake's northwest shoreline. He said preliminary investigation into the death has led police to believe there were no boats or other watercraft involved in the incident.

"Any time we have a death, we always have a criminal investigation until we can rule it out," Lee said in the interview.

According to an obituary, Day was a mother of three sons and a longtime resident of the Wind River Indian Reservation. She attended schools at Fort Washakie, Wyoming Indian, St. Stephen's, Chimewa and Central Wyoming College.

An evening service and wake begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, at the family home, 643 Ethete Road. Funeral services are at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25, at the family residence.

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