The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office had not yet identified a body by press time that was found by park rangers Aug. 28 around 6 p.m. in the Cuyahoga River, north of the Highland Road bridge, in Brecksville.
The rangers were part of a team searching for Hillary K. Sharma, 30, who was reported missing by Eastlake Police Aug. 21. An intensive search was launched in portions of the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park system after Sharma’s abandoned car was found at the Boston Store Visitor Center in Peninsula Aug. 21 around midnight.
Original reports said the body was found by rangers using a kayak to search for Sharma. However, later reports stated the body was found in the water by rangers who were hiking off-trail near the Cuyahoga River, according to a park spokesperson. Identification and cause of death is pending determination by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The body recovery was coordinated by the National Park Service, Cleveland Metroparks, Brecksville Fire Department, Southwest Emergency Response Team, Brecksville Police Department, and Sagamore Hills Police Department.
The search for Sharma was led by a joint incident command including the National Park Service, Valley Fire District and Brecksville Fire Department and has utilized ground teams with search dogs, horse patrol, boats, a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft, according to officials.
Several personal items identified as belonging to Sharma were found in a remote area of the park Aug. 22.
A Hope for Hillary Facebook page was created Aug. 28 to help find additional information and keep her friends updated. It had almost 1,100 likes. Friends were trying to schedule an Aug. 31 candlelight vigil in downtown Bedford.