Area where missing woman found dead is prone to flooding, Miami County officials say

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PAOLA, Kan. — For almost two days, Miami County deputies searched for a missing 78-year-old woman.

It was a tragic ending to the Silver Alert after a county worker found Hazel Philips`s car submerged in flood water. The sheriff’s office said Phillips was inside her car, dead.

As of Friday afternoon, there was still high water on some parts of the road where Phillips’s car was found. Police searched the area Thursday, but the water was so high, they couldn’t see anything until it receded Friday morning.

Hazel Phillips

“An employee with the county saw the top of the car and reported it to the sheriff’s office,” said Wayne Minckley, Miami County undersheriff. “We responded, and it turned out to be the car they were looking for.”

Phillips’s family reported her missing Wednesday night. She told them she was driving to Drexel, Missouri.

“They had called the store that she attends in Drexel,” Minckley sad. “They had not seen her that day.”

The place where they found her car was on route she would have taken to go to Drexel. Minckley said the area is prone to flooding.

“We’ve been dealing with rising creeks and rivers across the county,” Minckley said.

He said there were barricades blocking the road where Phillips died.

“Barricades were starting to go up on Monday when roads were starting to become impassable,” Minckley said.

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