Posted: Jul 25, 2020 5:47 PM
Updated: Jul 26, 2020 8:59 AM
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – The family of 22-year-old Abigael Bellows arrived in Oregon Friday as the search for the woman, who disappeared under the waters near Clearwater Park, entered its fourth day.
Tressa Bellows, Abigael’s mother, said her daughter was swimming with friends along the Middle Fork Willamette River near Clearwater Park on Wednesday when witnesses saw her disappear underwater without a lifejacket. Bellows said search crews responded immediately to the scene, but were unable to locate her daughter.
Crews with Lane County Search and Rescue have combed the area every day since Abigael disappeared, but with no luck. Bellows said searchers have been using boats, divers, dogs and drones during their searches.
“We are hoping and praying that the river releases her, and search and rescue is able to bring her back to us,” Bellows said.
Abigael’s family, who live in Pennsylvania, arrived Friday night in time to join searchers Saturday morning.
Bellows said her daughter has lived in Eugene for the past two years and moved here after falling in love with the area while visiting.
“She is incredibly beautiful. She is smart. She is loving. She is full of hope and positivity. And her energy – it’s too big for this world,” Bellows said.
Bellows said Abigael was a successful student at Duquesne University, but left to pursue interests in the environment and was passionate about sustainable food.
“She came out to the west coast and she fell in love with the lifestyle here,” Bellows said. “She wanted to forge her own path. She wanted to make her own mark in the world.”
Longtime parkgoers said that the Middle Fork Willamette River near the area has a strong current and recommend against swimming near the Clearwater Park landing.