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Searchers finally locate body of missing Glide kindergarten teacher

A searcher on the North Umpqua River
Douglas County Sheriff's Office Facebook page
A searcher on the North Umpqua River

The body of Rachel Merchant-Ly was recovered from the North Umpqua River Friday.

Merchant-Ly was reported missing on Feb. 29 when she didn’t arrive at Glide Elementary School where she worked as a kindergarten teacher. She was 27 and lived in Idleyld Park. According to her Facebook page, she formerly lived in Eugene and attended Portland State University.

Later that morning, a Douglas County Sheriff's deputy found signs of a vehicle crash near milepost 41 on Highway 138.

Her vehicle was recovered from the river the next day, but she was not found inside.

Since that time, crews have conducted numerous searches by water, land, and air without success.

A large-scale effort was undertaken Friday morning by Search and Rescue teams from Douglas, Jackson, and Lane Counties as well as volunteers.

Merchant-Ly’s body was found at 9:30 a.m. by a volunteer community member about 7 ½ miles downstream from the crash site.

The Douglas County Medical Examiner's Office responded and confirmed the body to be that of Rachel Merchant-Ly.

In a news release, the Douglas County Sheriff expressed thanks to the searchers on behalf of Merchant-Ly’s family.

“I cannot thank the dedicated deputies, SAR Volunteers, agency partners and community members who have not given up on finding Rachel," Sheriff John Hanlin said. “Commissioner Freeman and I have been in personal communication with Rachel's husband, mother, father and extended family. They are extremely thankful for the efforts of everyone involved.”

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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