Ashe County Sheriff: Body Found Near Missing Charlotte Woman’s Vehicle

By WCNC.com Staff & Charlotte Observer, June 3, 2013

The Ashe County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed they discovered a body of a white female near the crash scene of where a Charlotte woman’s vehicle was found.

The vehicle driven by a Holly Fischer, who has been missing for a week, was found overnight in a mountain area near the Wilkes-Ashe county line, a source at the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office said Monday morning.

Authorities found a body near the scene a few moments after discovering the vehicle, according to the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities have not officially confirmed it’s the body of Fischer, but have confirmed the vehicle found is Fischer’s. Authorities have now given the family the official notice of death.

The 2004 Infiniti SUV driven by Fischer was discovered down a steep ravine off N.C. 16, a short distance southeast of the county line in Wilkes County.

Fischer was last seen a week ago on Monday when she left her parents’ home in Knoxville, Tenn. Fischer told her parents she was returning to Charlotte, but family members said she might have changed her mind and headed for a family-owned condominium in eastern Ashe County.

A news conference held Monday morning at Piney Ridge Baptist Church on N.C. 16 North is not far from the Ashe County line, and is near where a motorcyclist spotted car tracks off the road late Sunday night.

Authorities say the motorcyclist, who is a family friend an involved in the search for Fischer, traveling along N.C. 16, in Wilkes County, about 1 1/2 miles southeast of the Blue Ridge Parkway, found tracks off the road. Searchers followed the tracks and discovered a vehicle.

Two attempts were made to repel down to the vehicle late Sunday night, but recovery operations were suspended due to rough terrain and darkness about 1:30 Monday morning.

Recovery operations resumed at 8 Monday morning. That’s when crews were able to reach the vehicle and confirm matching make, model and color consistent with Fischer’s Infiniti SUV.

Located at the scene was the body of a white female, presumed to be Fischer. Authorities have not made it clear whether the body was found in or near Fischer’s car.

Crews had searched for two days across the rugged mountainous terrain of Ashe and Wilkes counties late last week, trying to find a trace of Fischer. Ashe County Detective Phil Howell said crews searched on foot, by vehicle, and with helicopters, but they found no trace of the missing woman.

The search had focused on that area because authorities determined her cell phone was last used near North Wilkesboro.

“All areas have been thoroughly searched where we think she might be,” Howell said Friday.

Fischer’s father told authorities in Knox County, Tenn., that his daughter was distraught about an imminent divorce.

A friend of Fischer’s, Liz Stafford, said Sunday that authorities were able to use signals from the woman’s cell phone to trace her route last Monday. They determined she had gotten onto Interstate 40, but when she reached I-77 in Statesville, she turned north instead of south toward Charlotte. After turning north, she got off I-77 and U.S. 421 and headed for the mountains.

The last signal received was in North Wilkesboro, about 5 p.m. on Monday.

Authorities from the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina Highway Patrol and the State Bureau of Investigation are working together on a joint investigation.

Monday morning, Holly Fischer’s family released the following statement:

The Fischer family can now confirm that Holly Fischer’s car has been located. The car was located off Highway 16 in Millers Creek, NC. It is with unbearable sadness that we can also confirm that she was not found alive. Our hearts are broken. The family does wish to express their tremendous gratitude to the countless volunteers and authoritiesthat have participated in the search for Holly. Without your tireless efforts, we believe Holly Fischer may not have ever been found. We are all devastated to lose our beautiful daughter, sister and friend. We do ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time.

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Published in: on June 4, 2013 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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