Steele Co. Woman Found Dead Near Home - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Steele Co. Woman Found Dead Near Home

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We have new information regarding the unusual circumstances surrounding the death of a Steele County woman that we first told you about on Saturday.

Preliminary autopsy results now show that 53-year old Rhonda Gjesdal of rural  Luverne, North Dakota, died of drowning, but authorities are still trying to figure out exactly what happened here.

Sheriff Wayne Beckman says Rhonda Gjesdal left her farmstead, seven miles northwest of Luverne, en route to Wahpeton on Thursday. Her car was found at the bottom of a ravine on Saturday, about one mile from the farmstead, and her body was found later that same day in a separate ravine just 200 yards from the farmstead.

"We believe what probably happened is she went into the ditch Thursday night, walked a ravine area, a creek area, walked that for quite awhile, very tough walking…[and] somehow got that far from her house," Sheriff Beckman commented.

Beckman says that while Gjesdal was found face down in only one to two feet of water, he says it was very muddy at the bottom of that ravine and she may have been exhausted from her walk. Sheriff Beckman also adds that the preliminary autopsy does not show any signs of foul play.

The final autopsy report may shed more light on this case.

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