Mother found dead at Cummins Falls was assisting with search for missing woman
Posted July 7
COOKEVILLE, TN — Family members say the woman found dead at Cummins Falls on Thursday was there assisting in the search for an elderly woman.
Lisa Michelle Tufts-Hillian, who goes by Missy, had heard about the search for 73-year-old Peggy McDaniel and wanted to help.
Her family urged her to stay home because they thought it was too dangerous.
Search crews found Tufts-Hillian's body around 9 a.m. Thursday. The TBI confirmed her identity Friday morning. An autopsy will be performed by the Medical Examiner's Office to determine her cause of death.
Tufts-Hillian's grandmother, Rubi Tufts, said she was the kind of person who always wanted to help others. She paid for strangers' lunch tabs and had been spending a lot of time at the hospital with her uncle.
Tufts said her granddaughter saw the news that McDaniel was missing and felt like she needed to do something. The last time she saw her granddaughter was on Wednesday.
Tufts-Hillian was an avid hiker and loved spending time outdoors.
The 45-year-old leaves behind a an 8-year-old son, who had been staying with her ex-husband while she was gone.
Tufts-Hillian was a former real estate agent who worked in Dayton, TN. Her boss said she left in 2015 to spend more time with her son and that she was an excellent employee.
The search for McDaniel continues. She was with her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren when they were trapped by high waters at Cummins Falls State Park on Wednesday.
Jackson County officials rescued about 40 people after a flash flood rushed through. Officials said the water rose about 3 feet in a matter of minutes.
According to the TBI, the investigation into Tufts-Hillian's death is ongoing.
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