Two women were found dead in a pond in Bentonville around midnight on Tuesday, according to a news release from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the news release, police found Nancy Borders Forest, 74, of Front Royal, and Jane Angela Whitney, 69, of Bentonville, along with one of Forest’s dogs, dead around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday in a “partially ice-covered pond” on Whitney’s property in Bentonville. Police had been searching for the two women along nearby walking trails.
Lt. Phillip Henry II, of the Sheriff’s Office, said that law enforcement officials are not currently anticipating any criminal charges in the case.
“At this point, there’s no signs [that] any criminal incident occurred,” Henry said. “Everything appears to be accidental at this point. There’s no evidence to support anything criminal in nature at this point.”
The search for Whitney and Forest began around 7:30 p.m. Monday when Forest’s spouse reported that Forest was missing, according to the release. Forest’s spouse had last seen her at 2 p.m., the release adds.
Forest, the release states, left her residence with one of her dogs with the intent of picking up another one of her dogs at the groomers.
After Forest was reported missing, deputies contacted the Winchester Medical Center, Warren Memorial Hospital and Winchester Emergency Clinic to see if they had been in communication with Forest. They reported none.
Deputies also began looking to friends and family of Forest for additional information. In the course of that investigation, Henry said, they found Forest’s vehicle at the property of Whitney, one of Forest’s friends.
“[Deputies] were checking anywhere they could for any information — any friends, family, things to that effect — and located [Forest’s vehicle] because Whitney is one of her friends,” Henry said.
When the Sheriff’s Office located Forest’s vehicle, though, neither Forest nor Whitney was at the residence, the release states. So deputies began contacting Whitney’s neighbors and searching walking trails in the area in an effort to find the two women.
Around midnight, they found Forest, Whitney and Forest’s dog dead in a pond on Whitney’s property. Deputies removed the two women and the dog from the pond and transported Whitney and Forest to the Office of the Medical Examiner.
Henry said that the Office of the Medical Examiner has not yet completed a preliminary autopsy. The Office of the Medical Examiner did not respond to a request for comment late in the day.