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Archive for March 7th, 2017

Police believe animal lover died trying to rescue lost poodle

watts2An Indianapolis woman found dead on a river sandbar Saturday may have died while trying to help catch a lost dog

Police and witnesses say Jacqueline “Jackie” Watts, 33, was found in the Flatrock River, where she was last seen chasing a poodle who had gone missing a few days earlier.

The poodle, named Ringo, was also found dead along the river.

Watts dropped her own pets off with a friend in Columbus Friday in preparation for a trip to Washington. Likely, she spotted the missing dog on her way home.

Her car was found with its flashers on and her purse inside, leading to a search of the area along the river.

Crews found her body Saturday morning on a sandbar in the Flatrock River in Columbus, just north of Noblitt Park.

Police say they don’t suspect foul play.

An autopsy completed Monday established that the cause of death was accidental drowning, according to the Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office.

The family of Ringo had posted on social media about his disappearance. They said the poodle had cataracts and was almost deaf.

After finding the body of Watts, police found the body of a small white dog on the river’s banks, just south of Noblitt Park. Police confirmed that it was Ringo with the animal’s owners, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Watts, an esthetician, served as teaching assistant in Indianapolis Public Schools and was known as an animal lover.

“The bottom line is we lost a very special person,” said Columbus Police Lt. Matt Harris. “It’s my understanding that Jackie was the type of person that when there was an animal that was sick, she would take that animal in and provide hospice care… That she was trying to help a lost dog and sadly appears (to have) lost her life doing so, that doesn’t seem out of character for her.”

Family members says she fostered dogs and rabbits. She volunteered with Kentuckiana Boxer Rescue and Indy Claw Animal Rescue.

“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,” the family said in a statement. “We know that Jackie gave her life for what she believed in.”