Body found in river ID’d as missing swimmer

A body found in a North Georgia river Wednesday morning has been identified as a Cherokee County woman who disappeared while swimming Monday, authorities confirmed. 

The Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office identified the body as Belinda Butterfield, 34, of Canton. Butterfield’s body was discovered in the Chestatee River just before noon. 

 

According to authorities, Butterfield was last seen swimming in the Tesnatee Creek near Sandy Flats and Dugas roads in White County. 

The creek runs into the Chestatee River in Lumpkin County, so authorities in White County requested the help of Lumpkin investigators. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources also assisted in the search. 

Butterfield’s mother was watching her as she swam and called out to her several times to make sure she was OK, according to Lumpkin sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Alan Roach. She assured her mother she was all right, he said. 

“But as she was floating — apparently not realizing the danger she was in — her mother lost sight of her,” Roach said. 

Butterfield’s mother searched the water for her, and called the White County sheriff’s office about 6 a.m. Monday after she couldn’t find her daughter. 

A man who had seen reports about the missing woman decided to join the search, authorities said. 

“The concerned citizen was much acquainted with the river in this area, and felt his expertise could be used in the search,” Roach said. 

The man went out on his canoe Wednesday and found a body partially submerged in the Chestatee and caught on a tree root in the river near the 800 block of Lewis Grindell Road, Roach said. 

He contacted authorities about 10:30 a.m., and the Lumpkin fire department and the DNR recovered the body shortly after.

Butterfield’s body was taken to the GBI Crime Lab for an autopsy. 

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