Authorities searching for missing woman

UPDATE as of 2:18 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17: The body has been identified as Belinda Butterfield, according to White County Sheriff's Captain Rick Kelley. He said her body will be sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations crime lab for an autopsy. The WCSO and Lumpkin County Sheriff's are working the case together and will wait on the results of the autopsy. 

According to a press release from the Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office, a concerned citizen familiar with the river in tath area located a person submerged in the river. He called 9-1-1, and authorities determined a swift water retrieval was needed. Members of the White County Sheriff's Office, Lumpkin County Fire Department and Georgia Department of Natural Resources assisted in the recovery. The body was positively identified by family members who were nearby.

UPDATE: Law enforcement responded to a report of a body found in the Chestatee River in Lumpkin County Wednesday morning, April 17, two days after the search for a missing woman began in White County.

The discovery was reported around 10:30 a.m., though the body had not been identified. However, authorities confirmed that the clothing on the victim match the description of the missing woman, 34-year-old Belinda Butterfield from Canton. The body was "found by a local resident who frequently paddles the river. He immediately reached out to us," said Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard.

“A body has been found, and it appears to be inside Lumpkin County around the Lewis Grindle area,” Jarrard said. 

Emergency responders are searching for a missing 34-year-old Canton woman who disappeared early Monday morning, April 15, near a creek off Sandy Flats Road, not far from the Lumpkin County line.

The woman has been identified as Belinda Butterfield, said White County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Bob Ingram. Butterfield and her mother were out at the site around 4:30 a.m., and the mother told investigators her daughter voluntarily went into the water.

Authorities are still on scene trying to locate the woman as of Monday afternoon, and the incident remains under investigation, Ingram said. He also said they are trying to get assistance from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Ingram added that authorities have interviewed the missing woman’s mother, who lives in Lumpkin County, and do not suspect foul play based on the interview.

As of Tuesday morning, WCSO Capt. Rick Kelley and Ingram both said she had not been found. Kelley said the WCSO will also work with Lumpkin County agencies, since that creek flows into Lumpkin County. 

Agencies involved in the search include the WCSO, White County Fire Department, DNR, Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office and Lumpkin County Fire and Rescue, Kelley said. If anyone has any information, they can contact WCSO Investigator Chad Edwards at 706-865-5177 ext. 251 or, or LCSO Investigator Aaron Norrell at 706-482-2631 or

(Matt Aiken of The Dahlonega Nugget contributed to this report.)

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 



White County News

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