Jackson County search crews recovered the body of missing 73-year-old Peggy McDaniel who went missing during a flash flood at Cummins Falls State Park.
Jackson County officials and McDaniel’s family made the announcement at a press conference Friday evening.
McDaniel’s son Shane Paschall and daughter Julie Taylor fought back tears as they talked about a woman they said was loved by many.
They described her as crafty, spry, gritty, hard working and generous. They also thanked the multiple law enforcement agencies that assisted with the search.
“We want to thank everyone that helped with the recovery, they bonded with us, talked with us and cried with us,” said Shane Paschall. “They did everything they could. They searched for our mother like she was their own. We ask everyone continue to remember us and pray for us in this difficult time.”
Officials said her body was spotted just after 2 p.m. on Friday and was recovered about two hours later. She was found about a mile and a half from the waterfall.
McDaniel was swept away by rushing waters Wednesday afternoon. She was the park with her family. Her son said they were enjoying a beautiful day, and in a moment’s notice it turned tragic. The rising water swept her off her feet.
She was one of more than two dozen people who were being rescued from the falls area, but unlike the others, she wasn't able to hold on to the rocks long enough for crews to arrive.
Multiple agencies have been searching for McDaniel including the Jackson County EMA, Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee State Park Rangers, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and water rescue teams from Putnam, White and Smith Counties.
During the search, crews discovered another body in the area. However, it was not McDaniel, and crews were left to continue their search.
Cummins Falls State Park will be open on Saturday, however, officials said it was unknown if swimming would be allowed. They will make a determination Saturday depending on how high the water levels are.