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UPDATED 6:00 p.m., Aug. 29
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed a body found by park rangers Aug. 28 around 6 p.m. in the Cuyahoga River to be Hillary Sharma, 30, of Eastlake. Sharma’s body was found north of the Highland Road bridge, in Brecksville.
The medical examiners office released its findings shortly after 5:30 p.m. Aug. 29.
A cause of death has not been determined, according to the coroner’s office.
The rangers who found Sharma were part of an intensive search effort 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. Sharma had been reported missing by Eastlake Police several hours before the car was found.
Original reports said Sharma’s body was found by rangers using a kayak to search for Sharma. However, later reports stated she was found in the water by rangers who were hiking off-trail near the Cuyahoga River, according to a park spokesperson.
Several agencies assisted in recovering Sharma’s body, including 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.