Police in Columbus, Indiana now believe a 33-year-old woman whose dead body washed up Saturday on a sandbar in the Flatrock River drowned after trying to save a lost dog. Jackie Watts of Indianapolis was last seen Friday chasing along the riverbanks a 10-year-old white poodle named Ringo, who had been separated from his family just days earlier. At a press conference today, police said that while results of an autopsy were still pending, they had ruled out foul play in her death, according to local Fox affiliate 59.
Watts’ family had reported her missing after her car was found Friday evening with the motor running and her purse inside. She was supposed to go on a trip to Washington D.C. that night with her husband. Her body was found at 8:30 am Saturday morning. On Sunday, police found Ringo’s dead body as well. Watts was a devoted animal lover and activist, and served on the board of directors of the animal rescue organization Indyclaw Rescue, according to the New York Daily News.
The Indianapolis Star reports that at the press conference today, Columbus Police Lt. Matt Harris called her death “a big loss. John Quick, a spokesman for the Watts family read a statement on their behalf, saying: “She cared deeply about the well-being of animals. If she believed she could help an animal in need, she was going to do so without hesitation. We know that Jackie gave her life for what she believed in.”