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Soquel Woman Found Dead in River Near Ben Lomond Had Hypothermia

The death of Guadalupe Cortez, 26, was ruled accidental from downing and hypothermia.

A Soquel woman whose body was found floating in the San Lorenzo River near Ben Lomond on Monday drowned while swimming in cold water, a spokeswoman for the Santa Cruz County coroner's office said.

The death of Guadalupe Cortez, 26, was ruled accidental from drowning with hypothermia -- low body temperature that can produce unconsciousness -- as a secondary cause, coroner's spokeswoman Deputy April Skalland said.

A toxicology test for drugs or alcohol in her system will take about four weeks to complete, Skalland said.

Cortez drove her 1999 Jeep to a parking lot in Highlands Park at 8500 Highway 9 near Ben Lomond on Sunday to join two male friends for a swim in the river that runs along the park's eastern border.

"She'd taken some of her clothes off to go swimming," Skalland said.

The water in the river was cold, as low as about 45 degrees, she said.

At around 12:30 p.m., when the two men got out of the water to leave, Corteztold them she wanted to remain behind in the water, Skalland said.

One of the two men reported her missing at 9 a.m. the next morning
and deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office search and rescue
team went to look for her.

At about 3:30 p.m., deputies found Cortez' partially clothed body in the river about an eighth-mile from where the men last saw her, Skalland said.

The sheriff's department is asking anyone who witnessed or has
information about this incident to call the investigations division at (831)
471-1121 or leave an anonymous tip at (831) 454-5995.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

Cassie Maas February 08, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Ben Lomond not Ben Lomand... Also, who in their right mind stays behind to continue swimming in such cold water. Seems to me some important facts are missing from this story.
Rachel Stern February 08, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Thank you for pointing out the typo, Cassie. We corrected it. We will update this story if any more information about this incident becomes available.

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