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Body found in Cherokee County lake identified as missing Valley Head woman

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris reports a body found in Weiss Lake in Leesburg late Friday afternoon has been identified as a missing Valley Head woman.

It started on July 16 when Sarah Jane Ortiz, 20, was reported missing by friends and family after she failed to return home on July 14. Investigators began interviewing people in an effort to locate Ortiz shortly after.

Sheriff Harris said a fisherman discovered a body in Weiss Lake near Yellow Creek Church in Leesburg on July 18. Harris said it was the body of a female and appeared to have been in the water for some time.

The body was positively identified as Sarah Ortiz by forensics in Huntsville Monday.  Investigators have not released the cause of death at this time.

Harris says investigators are looking into the timeline from when Ortiz left Hammondville until when she was last seen in Leesburg late Sunday or early Monday morning. Harris added the investigation is focused now in Cherokee County as personal items belonging to Ortiz were discovered in Leesburg.

Anyone with information about this case should call the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office at 256-845-3801 and speak with Investigator Craig White or Commander Wade Hill.

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