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Body found in ravine thought to be missing Maple Falls woman

PEACEFUL VALLEY/KENDALL/MAPLE FALLS, Wash. — The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office announced today Monday, April 3rd, that a body was located in a ravine near the home of a missing Maple Falls woman.

On Sunday, April 2, dispatch received a report from an individual who was helping search the area in Maple Falls where Ms. Montague-Ayers went missing on March 10th. The individual believed he had located Ms. Montague-Ayers’ body in a deep ravine in a wooded area near the family home. Due to the steep terrain and weather conditions, Search and Rescue personnel and resources were unable to safely access the area and retrieve the victim. A plan was developed to utilize a ground team or a helicopter the following day to recover the body. A security detail remained on the scene until resources were able to return to the area.

On the morning of Monday, April 3rd, members of Bellingham Mountain Rescue were able to reach the victim and extricate her from the ravine. The deceased was turned over to the Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Based on the location and the last known description of the female, the victim is believed to be Julie Montague-Ayers. The official identification of the victim will be determined by the Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office. Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (April 3, 2023)

The search for a missing Maple Falls woman was being continued by family and volunteers after she was reported missing on March 10th. Agencies involved in the initial search suspended the search effort on March 13th but reported continuing the investigation. Family members recently said they were turning their attention to areas with rugged and steep terrain while considering the possibility she may have gone further off the trail than initially thought.

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