Autopsy results pending

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   One week after two fishermen found the body of an Elizabethton woman on the bank of the Watauga River, investigators are still waiting for the results of an autopsy, Carter County Sheriff John Henson confirmed Tuesday.
   The body of Kristal Gale Dubuque, 22, of 427 W. G St., Apt. 11, was found around 1:45 p.m. on Feb. 18 approximately one-quarter of a mile down stream from where her abandoned vehicle was found around 8 a.m. on Feb. 16 underneath the Hunter Bridge in Lynn Valley.
   Members of the Carter County Rescue Squad's Swift Water Rescue Team searched the portion of the river where her body was found on Feb. 16 and 17, and a helicopter from the Tennessee Highway Patrol assisted on the 17th by doing an aerial search of the area. During those searches, no sign of Dubuque's body was found.
   "The body could have been caught up on something underneath the water and washed up on the bank last night or this morning," Henson said on the day Dubuque's body was found. "They usually generate this river at night and that might have caused her to wash up."
   Forensic pathologists from the Quillen College of Medicine conducted a preliminary examination before the body was taken from the river bank and transported to the College of Medicine for an autopsy scheduled to be performed on Feb. 19.
   "At this point in time, we do not have a cause of death," Henson said the day Dubuque's body was found.
   Carter County Sheriff's Department investigators are treating the death as a homicide.
   Dubuque's body was released to the family on Feb. 20, and the family held a memorial service and burial on Monday. Local business owners are working to develop a trust fund for Dubuque's son and her family.
   According to police reports, Dubuque was reported missing by her mother, Brenda Gale Gentry, 220 S. Sycamore St, who told Elizabethton Police Department Sgt. Jack Ramsey that Dubuque had been missing since approximately 10 p.m. Sunday night. "She said she'd been in contact with Dubuque's employer, who she identified as Bob Miller," Ramsey said in the missing person report. "She said that Miller told her that he had dropped Dubuque off at her car, which was parked at the Sunoco on Highway 91, subsequent to her assisting him on a surveillance on Blue Springs Road."
   Gentry told Ramsey that her daughter's infant son was in the care of Dubuque's roommates -- David Dwayne Williamson and Jessica Putnam -- and that Dubuque often left her son in their care.