Sheriff's suspend search for missing Josephine County woman

Tina Behneke (Nicole Burnett)

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office has suspended the search for the Josephine County woman who was swept downstream by the current while trying to swim in a usually shallow area near Store Gulch Use are on the Illinois River.

Deputy Cory Krauss of Josephine County Search and Rescue says all search efforts for 21-year-old Tina Behneke have been cancelled due to unsafe water conditions. Any future searches will be determined once river conditions change.

"As far as when the water levels are going to drop and everything, it depends on the snow melt off," Krauss says. "So it's just going to be something that we'll have to monitor and evaluate on an ongoing basis."

Behneke of Medford, Oregon was last seen wearing a black Nike baseball cap, dark colored zip-up Nike hooded jacket, black and gray leggings, and tennis shoes exploring the Illinois River with friends.

Behneke had tried to cross the Illinois River in an area of the river before being swept downstream by the fast moving current.

Behneke’s friends made an attempt to rescue. They told deputies they had lost sight of her as she passed through rapids on the river.

The search resumed Thursday morning with Public Safety Divers used an underwater pole camera were used to try to locate Behneke.

At this time deputies believe Behneke may have downed.

Deputy Krauss says they will continue to look for any clues that will help locate Behneke. The sheriff's office is reaching out to neighboring counties for drone usage, so teams can view unsearched areas that are too dangerous to access and continue their search off-foot.

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