More details emerge in Luray woman’s death

Police have released details of the circumstances surrounding the death of an 89-year-old Luray woman near Strasburg on Dec. 31.

Mary Jennings’ body was discovered at 8:30 a.m. New Year’s Eve on Sandy Hook Road after she had been reported missing the night before by her son. She was found by a passerby a half a mile from her car, which had gotten stuck in a stone wall, Luray Police Chief Page Campbell said Tuesday.

Campbell said the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office has ruled Jennings’s death natural, pending an autopsy.

Jennings went missing “roughly at 4:30 p.m.” Jan. 30 and was reported missing between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Campbell said. She was then filed as a “missing and endangered person” based on her age and “mental and medical issues” he said.

In the week preceding her death, police had spoken with Jennings several times.

“The department had numerous calls on this same individual on some mental issues,” Campbell said. “We had unusual calls where officers responded to calls where she had seen things that weren’t there.”

Campbell said police had talked to her son about his mother’s contact with them.

“She was living by herself,” Campbell said. “We were more inclined to let her loved ones know what we were seeing and our concerns not only for her, but the motoring public.”

There is no reason as to why Jennings was driving near Strasburg, Campbell said.

“I found no indication why she was up there and her son found none either,” Campbell said. “She had a tendency to be coherent one minute and maybe not know where she was at the next.”

Campbell added, “We had a call to our offices several days before that she was somewhere and she appeared to be disoriented and didn’t know where she was at.”

Campbell said based on observations by officers, he believes she may have become disoriented while driving.

“It’s sad that she wasn’t at her home with her family when she passed,” Campbell said. “It’s a truly sad thing for the family and we feel for them.”

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or

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