Shenandoah National Park Authorities Believe Body Found in Park to Be Missing UVA Instructor

by Jennifer Shea
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Shenandoah National Park officials announced on Saturday that they had found a female body in the park. They found the body at around 10 a.m. that morning. So they believe it’s the body of missing University of Virginia economics lecturer Julia Christine Devlin.

Authorities found the body in “extremely steep and rough terrain in the southernmost part of the park,” they said in a press release. They discovered it about 600 meters from where Devlin’s car had crashed, a park spokesperson told People.

Searchers included park officials, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Albemarle Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch. They called off their search following the find.

Devlin Went Missing in Shenandoah National Park Nearly Two Weeks Ago

Devlin showed up on security camera footage in Charlottesville on July 14. On that day, she drove her white Lexus sedan into Shenandoah National Park. Three days later, park officials found her car wrecked and abandoned by the side of Skyline Drive.

Meanwhile, a close friend of Devlin’s told NBC affiliate WVIR that Devlin would never just take off. The friend also said Devlin would never go a week without contacting her mother or sister.

The friend called Devlin’s disappearance “heartbreaking.”

UVA spokesperson Brian Coy told WVIR about a week ago that the university hoped for Devlin’s safe return. He encouraged anyone with information about her disappearance to reach out to authorities.

Investigation Is Ongoing

Albemarle County Sheriff Chan Bryant told WVIR that Shenandoah National Park rangers took over the investigation while the search for Devlin was still underway. And it remains unclear if there was foul play involved. Authorities do not know if Devlin crossed Skyline Drive and headed toward the cliff face on her own.

Now, however, searchers have found what they believe to be Devlin’s body. So it will go to the medical examiner in Augusta County for identification and determination of cause of death.

The search for Devlin was extensive, consisting of many different organizations. Among them are the Search and Rescue Tracking Institute, Search and Rescue Dog Association, Blue and Gray K9s, Greater Atlantic Rescue Dog, Piedmont Search and Rescue, Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group, Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue, TROT Search and Rescue, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Page County Citizens Emergency Corps, the Virginia Communications Cache and Rockingham-Augusta Search and Rescue.

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