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Death called suspicious; New Jersey woman found at bottom of ravine

A rope is lowered from a pulley affixed to a fire ladder that is stretched over a ravine that drops 92 feet. Emergency responders work to recover the body of a woman at the bottom.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
March 13, 2013

SHOHOLA FALLS, PA — Pennsylvania State Police at Blooming Grove have labeled the death of a New Jersey woman “suspicious,” and are seeking information from the public about it.

The body of Gail Dews of Wayne, NJ, 56, was recovered on March 11, after dozens of firefighters and emergency responders worked for more that eight hours to recover her body from the bottom of a ravine beneath a bridge on Route 6 near Shohola Falls.

The recovery was difficult because the sides of the ravine are rock, which was covered with ice and moss, and it would have been difficult to have climbers carry the Stokes basket up the sheer walls using their ropes and climbing gear.

Instead a ladder truck was positioned so that the ladder jutted out over the ravine and a rope was lowered to the bottom and the basket lifted out. Aiding in the operation were members of the Pike County High Angle Rescue team and the National Park Service’s High Angle Rescue team, along with the Forest Volunteer Fire Department, the Greely Fire Department and the Blooming Grove Fire Department.

Blooming Grove Fire Chief Jack Long-henry said that a male reported the incident after walking about two miles to a convenience store to use the phone. He told police that he had lost his car keys, and his car was left parked near the ravine. Longhenry said the man had scratches on his head and there were inconsistencies in his story; he was taken into custody.

Police have so far not released the identity of the man, nor his relationship to Dews.

Police ask anyone who was in the area between 2:30 p.m. on March 10 and 8:30 a.m. on March 11 and may have information to contact the Pennsylvania State Police in Blooming Grove at 570/226-5718.