Woman dies searching for missing woman

A Tennessee woman was found dead last week after she joined the search for a local elderly woman who had gone missing.

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Lisa Michelle Tufts-Hillian was found dead Thursday morning at Cummins Falls waterfall in Jackson County, Tennessee.

She had been assisting in the search for 73-year-old Peggy McDaniel.

According to WSMV, McDaniel was unaccounted for Wednesday night after rescue efforts saved about 40 people who were trapped at Cummins Falls, where waters had risen to dangerous heights.

McDaniel was attempting to cross a creek with her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren when family members lost their grip on her, officials said, according to WSMV. Waters rose at least three feet in a matter of minutes during a flash flood at the falls.

“The water is really swift ... The footing is not good,” said Jackson County EMS Director Keith Bean.

Rescue efforts were suspended Wednesday night and continued Thursday morning.

Rubi Tufts, Tufts-Hillian’s grandmother, said her granddaughter saw news reports about McDaniel’s disappearance and wanted to help.

"She was always a good Samaritan," Tufts told WSMV.

Tufts-Hillian, an avid hiker, had recently been to Cummins Falls and felt confident that she knew the area well, according to WSMV.

Tufts-Hillian, 45, was a real estate agent in Dayton, Tennessee. She leaves behind an 8-year-old son. Her father described her as loving, caring and giving.

“All we got from the investigator is that she had to lose her footing and perished in the flood waters,” her father, Chuck Tufts, Jr., said.

An investigation into her death is ongoing.

McDaniel’s body was recovered Friday.

"It started out as a beautiful day out here with my wife and four kids and my mother," McDaniel's son, Shane Paschall, told WSMV. As we got to the waterfall, it was still perfect. And just with a surge of water, an act of God, it turned tragic."

Read more at WSMV.

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