Colchester woman’s body found in Niquette Bay

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Colchester police recovered a body from Niquette Bay last week, identified as a woman who went missing on Sunday, July 2 in Colchester.

Cynthia Whalen, 52, was declared missing from a party on Niquette Bay Road a little before 11:15 p.m. July 2. On the afternoon of July 5, swimmers at Niquette Bay State Park reported the body, Colchester police Lt. Doug Allen said.

Once contacted by park officials around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, Colchester’s police marine division and technical rescue squad recovered the body, which was brought to the chief medical examiner’s office in Burlington for official identification.

According to Whalen’s death certificate, the woman drowned. There was no indication of foul play, Allen said.

Whalen’s friends told police she had wandered from a party. They spent around 30 minutes looking for her before calling for help. Initial searches by police included thermal imaging equipment and wading through a particularly swampy area of the bay, Allen said.

The next morning, Vermont State Police Search and Rescue, U.S. Border Patrol, New England K9 Search and Rescue and Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team aided Colchester in the investigation.

“We conducted a pretty exhaustive land search,” Allen said.

Later that day, Whalen’s footwear was found alongside a nearby beaver dam, shifting the search’s focus to the water. A drone from the Grand Isle Sheriff’s Department provided air support.

Allen said a variety of sonar techniques were considered. The extensive weed population in the area damped sonar return.

Originally from Binghamtom, N.Y., Whalen resided on Blakely Road in Colchester.

This post was updated from its original version once more information became available.