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Search ends for woman swept into DuPage River while walking dogs in Winfield

The search for the woman ended Saturday night, and recovery efforts will begin once water levels subside, authorities said.

A man is accused of stealing an ambulance July 1, 2021, in Joliet.
Authorities searched the West Branch of the DuPage River after a woman was swept away by a current while walking dogs May 15, 2020, at the Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve in Winfield.
Adobe Stock Photo

Search efforts were called off Saturday night for a woman swept into the DuPage River Friday while walking her dogs in west suburban Winfield.

The 18-year-old woman was walking two dogs when she tried to cross a flooded-out bridge about 6 p.m. at the Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve, according to a statement from the DuPage Forest Preserve District.

A witness riding a bicycle nearby saw her get swept away by the current while walking through waist-high water on the bridge, officials said. He tried to assist her until she was pulled into the West Branch of the DuPage River and he lost sight of her.

Emergency responders used boats, divers, drones, thermal imaging and helicopters to search for the woman Friday night, the forest preserve district said. They found one of the dogs but did not locate the woman.

Authorities resumed their search Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 9 p.m. without finding her, the forest preserve district said. Recovery efforts will be scheduled once water levels subside.

“Our hearts go out to the family at this tragic time,” said DuPage Forest Preserve District Police Chief David Pederson in a statement. “We are very appreciative of all the help we have received from the numerous agencies and volunteers who assisted in this exhaustive search.”

Record-setting rainfall from Thursday to Friday caused flash flooding throughout northern Illinois.