Body of missing Rye woman recovered

February 18, 2019

Deputies believe they have recovered the body of a Rye, Texas woman in Liberty County who had been missing since Jan. 2.

Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Steven Rasberry and Houston Police Department Homicide Detective Gordon Sullivan both said Jennifer Scott-Perkins could be the woman found. The person was discovered Feb. 17 in a vehicle that was pulled from the Trinity River at the FM 787 bridge in the north part of the county.

The car matched the description of the vehicle Scott-Perkins was driving. However, while a body was discovered in the vehicle, no positive identification could be made. An autopsy was ordered by Justice of the Peace Pct. 5 Judge Wade Brown.

The 48-year-old Perkins had been missing from her Houston home since the beginning of the new year and had not been seen nor heard from since her cell phone last pinged just west of Rye close to dark on that day. Her vehicle hadn’t been found either.

Her disappearance launched a joint search effort between the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Houston Police Homicide Division, and Texas EquuSearch. Searchers used sonar on the water of the Trinity, foot searches, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s), and aerial hunting to find the missing woman. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the searches were non-productive due, primarily, to the adverse water conditions.

Relatives and friends told investigators that she had some personal issues and in one of her last cell phone calls indicated that she intended to take her own life.

That comment coupled with the locations of her last cell phone call, led investigators in the vicinity of the FM 787 bridge.

Investigator Rasberry and Texas EquuSearch director Tim Miller said the FM 787 bridge might be a logical location to search because her car had not been found abandoned and there is a paved ramp leading down to the flooded Trinity River.

It wasn’t the first time investigators had searched the area.

Just two weeks earlier, Texas EquuSearch boat operator Dennis Waters attempted to use the sonar to scan the bottom of the river near the same ramp, but swift currents and flooded conditions prevented a successful attempt due to the dangerous flooded conditions.

A drop in the water level to a safe zone allowed for another attempt with the sonar and a vehicle matching the description of the one driven by Perkins was located and retrieved from about 35-feet of water.