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Patrick Springer, Published March 21 2010

Missing woman found in creek

The search for Lisa Skovholt ended Saturday at the bottom of Antelope Creek in southeast North Dakota’s Richland County.

Searchers found the 30-year-old Mooreton woman’s car submerged in the creek, swollen with floodwaters, off County Road 8, eight miles west of Galchutt, N.D.

Skovholt, a diabetic, was last heard from Friday evening when she spoke with family members on her cell phone.

In that conversation, Skovholt said she was near the Galchutt exit on Interstate 29, returning from a trip to Fargo. When she failed to show up, family members reported her missing at 7:25 p.m., according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Office.

“We ended up searching pretty much all night,” Sheriff Larry Leshovsky said.

Because of her medical condition, family members and authorities were worried that she could become disoriented from a diabetic reaction and have an accident, Leshovsky said.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, authorities received a tip from someone who had seen a swerving, west-bound car matching the description of Skovholt’s beige Pontiac Grand Am, helping to focus the search.

A neighbor spotted a mile marker that was knocked down on the road, along with tire tracks and debris matching her vehicle, leading into the water in a ditch alongside the road.

More than 30 law enforcement officers, including the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and several federal agencies on hand to help with the extensive flooding, took part in the search.

About 3:15 p.m., divers found the submerged car at the bottom of the creek, in water 10 to 14 feet deep. Once the car was later retrieved, 30 to 40 yards south of the road, Skovholt’s body was recovered.

Her death has been determined a fatal rollover accident, and the North Dakota Highway Patrol has taken the lead in the accident investigation, Leshovsky said.

Her body was sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Bismarck, and autopsy results are expected early this week, the sheriff said.

“It would be speculation on my part,” Leshovsky said when asked if she lost control of the car when having a diabetic reaction, “but that would be the first thing that would come to mind. Terrible tragedy for the family.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522