State police investigating after hunters find woman’s body in Essex creek

ESSEX COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – The Virginia State Police is seeking the public’s help with an ongoing death investigation in Essex County.

At 10:26 a.m., Saturday (Sept. 19), the Virginia State Police Department was contacted by the Essex County Sheriff’s Office concerning the discovery of human remains. Two hunters saw the body and immediately notified the sheriff’s office.

State police Search & Recovery Team divers, with the assistance of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Conservation Police, recovered the body from Mount Landing Creek. The creek is off of Route 17 and approximately 2.4 miles from the Town of Tappahannock.

The remains were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Center in Richmond for examination, and autopsy. The Medical Examiner’s office has identified the woman as 24-year-old Patrice J. Bell of Louisiana. At this stage of the investigation, there is no evidence of foul play as a cause of death.

Investigators have confirmed that Ms. Bell was last seen at around 2 a.m. on September 11, 2015, in the Tappahannock area.

Anyone who may recognize her in the above photo or have any information concerning her whereabouts on or after Sept. 10, is asked to please contact the Virginia State Police at 804-553-3445

The death remains under investigation by the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Richmond Field Office.

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