Chrissy Williams' body found

Family and friends gather near the Ohio River in Rosiclare after the body of Chrissy Williams was found in a red SUV pulled from the river about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. 

ROSICLARE – After a nearly four-month search, Chrisandra "Chrissy" Williams’ body was found in a red SUV in the Ohio River near Rosiclare in Hardin County.

Tami Jackson, who had been leading a search for her sister for months, finally had some closure.

“We were finally able to bring her (Williams) home where she belongs,” Jackson said. “It is what we have been trying to do for nearly four months now.”

County Coroner Jessica Cullum said her office was not releasing a positive identification on Thursday night but had scheduled an autopsy for this afternoon. Illinois State Police and the coroner's office are leading the investigation. 

Multiple efforts to reach an authorized state police spokesman or commander on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Williams, 40, of Shawneetown was last seen about 9 p.m. Dec. 2 leaving a home in Rosiclare. She was driving her red 2011 Ford Escape.

 Jackson said several people told her she should look outside Hardin County and search elsewhere, but she said she knew her sister was still close.

“We knew by the cell phone signals that she hadn’t left this area,” Jackson said. “We always knew that if we found the car we probably found her, but we couldn’t sit here and do nothing.”

Jackson said the family hired Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. from Moro in the Metro East area. The not-for-profit volunteer organization specializes in assisting law enforcement in recovery of remains, vehicles and items.

Jackson said Team Watters found the SUV’s location in the water within 20 minutes of beginning their search.

She said she couldn’t believe how close she's been to her sister's body during the search.

“We have been by her 100 times,” Jackson said.

Jackson said she now has legal authority to look into the bank and phone records to attempt to figure out what happened to her sister.

“If for some reason somebody is responsible for this, our next step will be justice for her,” Jackson said. “I am 100 percent sure my sister did not drive herself into that river.”

For now, Jackson is just glad that her sister was found and the family can grieve. Although the family never gave up searching for Williams, Jackson said she was just doing what she was supposed to do.

“I don’t think I did anything different than anybody else -- if it was their brother or sister -- would have done,” Jackson said.

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Dustin Duncan is a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan covering Carbondale.

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