Betty Counts found deceased in her car – cause of death determination pending

Betty Counts’ body was found at the end of an old logging road, 3 miles from Fernwood, Idaho, a city that resides on the northeast border of St. Joe National Forest. A death investigation has been initiated, and Missing NPF will continue to follow this case and will update her case file as new infmoration is released. Please view the news story below for more details.

According to Central Oregon Daily News,

Missing Prineville woman Betty Counts, 83, was found dead in Benawah County, located in northern Idaho, on Friday, September 24, 2021.

The Benawah County Sheriff’s Office told Prineville Police they found Counts in her car at the end of an old logging road, according to Sgt. Rob Gray.

Her death did not appear suspicious and no foul play is suspected.

“Although this is a devastating blow to the family and a tragic ending, it is good the family can have closure in this case,” Sgt. Gray said.

“The Prineville Police Department offers our condolences to the family for their loss.”

Counts had been missing since July 4, when her husband reported that she had left in her car after a minor argument.

Undersheriff Tyler Morris of Benewah County Sheriff’s Office said some hunters initially reported seeing the car at the end of the gated road located three miles away from Fernwood, Idaho.

Police found that Counts appeared to have driven to the end of the road before attempting to turn around, when her back wheels got stuck in a ditch and she was unable to drive further.

“I don’t really know why she was where they found her, there’s really nothing back that way,” Morris said. “I don’t know if she decided to go on a sightseeing trip, or if her GPS malfunctioned, I really don’t know.”

It appeared she had taken off her glasses, kicked back her seat, and passed away in that position.

Counts’ dog had been with her at the time she left home, but police did not find the dog with her.

Morris said her windows were rolled down about six to eight inches, and they believed the dog escaped through the gap.

A coroner is examining Counts’ body and will determine the exact cause and time of death.


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