By CHANSE WATSON
KINGSTON — It is believed that the body of 60-year-old Shannan B. Souza has finally been located by officials.
The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office reports that on June 9 around 7:45 p.m., 911 dispatch received a call from a resident on Fast Hill in Kingston who believed he had located a human body.
Deputies responded and processed the scene and with help from the resident, were able to retrieve the body successfully.
SCSO did not immediately release any information on the identity of the deceased, but confirmed the next morning that this body’s description is consistent with that of a report they received more than three weeks ago.
On May 25, 23-year-old Cole A. Lifsey, of Post Falls, called 911 at 1:56 p.m. stating that he saw a human body floating in the Coeur d’Alene River, face-down, near mile marker 1-2 while he was fishing.
This was the call that initiated a weekend-long, multi-agency search and rescue effort involving the SCSO, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho State Police, Shoshone County Fire District No. 2, Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Bureau of Land Management.
It appears that this body seen by Lifsey (and found on June 9) is Souza based on the Kellogg woman being reported missing the same day, not even 30 minutes before the initial sighting.
Based on available evidence, it is believed that Souza accidentally fell into the Coeur d’Alene River on May 25 while walking her dog near the airport in Smelterville.
Her absence was first reported to SCSO at 1:30 p.m. when a friend noticed her vehicle abandoned at the airport. Concerned, the friend then attempted to find Souza and ended up locating her dog and cane near the side of the river.
SCSO Undersheriff Holly Lindsey explained that the friend found the cane on an embankment so steep, she did not want to risk going to get it.
Deputies responded shortly after the call came in to search the area. While there, they asked Souza’s dog to take them to its owner. The dog then led them to where the cane was on the side of the river.
Positive identification could not be made on Saturday based on what was found, but the Kootenai County Coroner’s Office confirmed on Monday that it was indeed her.
Souza was known to walk with a cane and take her dog on walks at the Smelterville Airport.
During the Memorial Day weekend search for the body that is believed to be Souza, Lindsey and Captain Jeremy Groves located a different body on May 26 approximately 1-2 miles east of the Cataldo boat launch. The two were led to the body’s location on the south bank after smelling a strong odor while utilizing Groves’ personal airboat to search the area.
The Kootenai County Coroners Office confirmed last Friday that this body was that of 69-year-old Lionel Harding-Thomas.
Due to advanced decomposition, it was impossible for deputies to initially identify him based on physical characteristics. But judging from the length of time that he had been missing and the amount of decomposition on the body, the time frames matched up for it to be Harding-Thomas.
Thomas-Harding was carried off by the river sometime between April 27-28 in the Elizabeth Park area. A large search and rescue effort was launched when he was reported missing on April 28, but it yielded no results.
There is no indication at this time that foul play is involved in either case.
The Shoshone News-Press will provide more information if/when it becomes available.
To see our previous coverage on these incidents, visit www.shoshonenewspress.com.