Body Found in River Presumed to Be Missing Woman Who Went Over Va. Dam on Memorial Day

The search for Sarah Erway was called off Monday after Richmond Fire crews located a body in the James River, according to the Henrico County Police Department

Sarah E. Erway
Photo: Henrico County Police

Officials believe they have recovered the body of 28-year-old Sarah Erway, who went missing on Memorial Day after going over a dam in Virginia.

Richmond Fire crews located the body on Monday morning "just downstream of the Huguenot Flatwater boat ramp" in the James River in Richmond, according to a news release from the Henrico County Police Department.

Richmond Emergency Communications received a call just after 7:45 a.m. regarding a body seen floating in the river 200 yards away from the Huguenot Bridge. The search for Erway was subsequently called off.

The body is presumed to be Erway's, though the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia has not officially identified the remains.

"Law enforcement officials will work closely with the State's Medical Examiner's Office to confirm the identity and the cause of death to bring some closure to the family," Henrico County police said in Monday's release.

The HCPD and State Medical Examiner's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Erway was one of 12 people to go over Bosher's Dam on Memorial Day while boating on the James River. She and Lauren Winstead, 23, of Henrico County, went missing after the accident.

Winstead's body was recovered just west of the Powhite Parkway Bridge on the afternoon of June 1, according to a previous statement shared by the Henrico County Police Department on social media.

Richmond Fire Department Batallion Chief Robert Maass said at a June 1 press conference that Winstead's body was found about five miles from the dam she and Erway fell over.

"Elevated" water levels at James River complicated crews' search for the missing women despite going down in the days after the victims disappeared, Maass added.

missing kayakers Sarah E. Erway and Lauren E. Winstead
Henrico County Police (2)

Rev. Vander Warner and his wife Winnie Warner, who are close with Erway's family, said the two women who went missing on Memorial Day were friends, according to WWBT-TV.

Winnie said Erway "was on a board with just her paddle" and that the group of 12 was "all tied together up the river" when the accident occurred. "[Erway] is the one who said, 'get back, get away,' " she recalled, per the report.

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Clinton Minnicks, who works with DroneWorx RVA, told ABC station WRIC-TV that Erway's family not only organized search parties for the missing women, but also provided food to volunteers.

A GoFundMe campaign started by Lauren's sister Brittany Winstead collected nearly $13,500. The fundraiser aimed to provide resources to those participating in the search for Erway, including drinks, snacks, hotels and more, per its description.

"The family is mourning," Henrico Police Lt. Matt Pecka said regarding the "tragic incident," per WBBT-TV.

He added, "We as first responders extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends [of the victims]."

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