UPDATE: Body of teen swept away by floodwaters in southern Kentucky is recovered

FOX 17 News

UPDATE (1/5/19): The body of 19-year-old Leah Carter has been recovered Saturday morning on a riverbank after five days of searching, according to the Kentucky State Police. Volunteers searching the East Fork Creek and Barren River area found her body about 4-5 miles from the Lyons bridge, where the car was swept away.


The search continues for a 19-year-old who’s car washed over a bridge in Monroe County on New Year’s Eve. Rescue workers found Leah Carter’s car the next day, but there's still no sign of Carter.

Crews used cranes to drag more than six and a half feet of debris up from a bridge on road 100 over East Fork Creek Wednesday. On the other side of that bridge, searchers shined spotlights on the muddy water, looking for any sign of Carter.

Tracy Shirley is the Emergency Management Director for the neighboring Barren County.

“If it’s gonna be a recovery, not a rescue, it’s something you gotta do, but you don’t really wanna do it,” Shirley said. “Whenever you have a tragedy like this one that happens, everybody pulls together.”

He’s one of hundreds who have showed up to look for the 19-year-old. Carter called 911 as her car washed over a bridge on Lyons Road New Year’s Eve.

“It hits home. It’s such a young age. You’ve got someone who’s just beginning their life,” Shirley said.

However, the teams searching for her have to put that in the back of their minds.

“Mentally, you can’t really prepare yourself for it,” Civilian Crisis Response Team member Brandy Westermeyer said.

She’s helped in multiple searches, but says it never gets easy.

“The people that we’re on a team with, there’s two of them that have actually known her most of her life, and just hearing some of the stories about her, it just makes you feel like you’re there with them and you want this resolved just as much as they do,” Westermeyer said.

Rescuers will continue the search Thursday. They say all volunteers must sign in at the volunteer fire department and bring a life jacket.

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