GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County sheriff’s deputies and allies are coordinating search efforts along the State Route 7 location of Tamela Simpson’s reported disappearance.
Deputies plan to focus search efforts in the Addison area. Officers have collected dental records and other identifying indicators of Simpson’s background.
“We’ve coordinated our efforts with the U.S. Coast Guard. They were notified the night that (Simpson) went missing,” said Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning. “This weekend, we have a search team coming in that’s going to assist us along the banks of the river there. We’re going to try and use specialized dogs trained to discover individuals in the water. We’re not giving up hope that she might be be somewhere else. At the same time, we’re also going to have to try to look at it as if it may be a potential recovery operation rather than a rescue. After so many hours, you have to go into that mode.”
Tamela Simpson, 33, of northern Gallia County, went missing Monday after a domestic argument. Police say that according to family statements, Simpson left a heated discussion and walked a short distance to the Ohio River across from the location where the argument occurred. Family members watched Simpson as she left distraught, shoeless, wearing a cheetah-print blue top and gray leggings. It is believed Simpson entered the water of the river after a splash was allegedly heard. Simpson’s brother walked down to the riverbank to find Simpson and found no sign of her.
Simpson is described as a white female, 5 feet, 2 inches tall. She weighs around 125 pounds. She has blonde hair with purple highlights. She reportedly has green or hazel eyes.
Browning said there is no reason to believe Simpson was abducted. Heavy rains over the course of the evening of Simpson’s disappearance made it difficult for searchers to determine signs of her location both in the water and out.
According to the sheriff, collaborative efforts will do the best they can to find Simpson. The Ohio River is known for running deep and swift and proves a unique challenge for searchers to navigate, said the sheriff.
If the public has any information, they are asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (740) 446-6555.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.