VAN ZANDT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – A lack of rain finally ended a three-year drought in the search for a missing woman in Van Zandt County. “It’s a sad ending, but we do have closure,” said the woman’s sister, Donna McWilliams.
Brenda Oliver disappeared in July, 2008. The remains of her body were found Saturday inside her car which was partly submerged in a private lake. Investigators say the long summer drought lowered the lake level and eventually uncovered the mystery.
“We saw the news about Lake Lavon’s level being down and I looked at my husband and said if they don’t find Brenda this summer, we are never going to find her,” explained McWilliams. “Within an hour, my telephone was ringing,” she added.
The car was found by a rancher and his grandson who own the private lake in the small community of Martin’s Mill. “The wind was blowing Saturday and you could see the windshield on the front and back of the car,” recalled Arron Mewbourn, who discovered the car with his grandfather.
When authorities finally reached the vehicle, they found the remains of Oliver’s body strapped inside by a seat belt. “They busted out the passenger-side window and we could see someone in it, said rancher, Jack Mewbourn.
It is believed that Oliver committed suicide because she was distraught over the drowning death of her son. The Van Zandt County Constable confirms that foul play is not suspected.
Family members say Oliver was on medication for depression after her son also committed suicide by drowning in 2000.