Body ID'd as missing Vermillion woman

2010-05-22T00:00:00Z Body ID'd as missing Vermillion womanBy Molly Montag - mmontag@siouxcityjournal.com Sioux City Journal

DAKOTA DUNES -- Deputies have identified a body found Thursday morning in the Missouri River near Dakota Dunes as that of Barbara Zenk, a Vermillion, S.D., woman who had been missing since March.

The Clay County, S.D., Sheriff's Office announced Friday afternoon that a preliminary autopsy conducted earlier that day in Sioux Falls had identified the body as Zenk's. Officials believe she drowned.

Zenk, 52, was last seen March 5, and her vehicle was found the next day parked along the Highway 19 bridge that spans the river.

Deputies found Zenk's purse, cell phone and keys inside her vehicle.

Investigators immediately searched for Zenk by air and land, using a tracking dog to try to find her scent. When the ice melted, officials used boats to search the river.

According to the sheriff's office's statement, deputies found no signs of foul play near her sport-utility vehicle around the time of her disappearance. The autopsy also did not find any indications of foul play, police said.

A Sioux City man called the Union County Sheriff's Office early Thursday and reported he had snagged a body while he was fishing along the riverbank on the south end of Dakota Dunes.

Although officials believed the body may have been the answer to the mystery of Zenk's appearance, as hers was the area's only active missing-persons case, she was not identified until Friday's autopsy.

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