Searchers were able to locate the car of a missing Buchanan woman Tuesday but were unable to retrieve the vehicle from the slough where it is submerged, according to Chad Kaiser, Stutsman County sheriff.

They have not been able to ascertain if the victim is still in the vehicle.

Sonia Heinle, 63, never made it home from her son's house Sunday evening. It appears her vehicle left the road, went through the ice on a slough and rests in about 10 feet of water, Kaiser said.

"We attempted to put in divers but they iced up," he said, referring to ice forming in the breathing regulators used by the divers. "It got dark so we came in and will be back at it tomorrow."

Kaiser said cold weather has been hard on searchers and equipment.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

"It is especially hard on all the equipment," he said. "As soon as you pull the equipment out of the water ice forms on it."

Searchers were also affected by the cold temperatures although Kaiser said they had a large enough search party so they could rotate from being outdoors and sheltering in heated vehicles.

"It was definitely a factor," Kaiser said.

Ice thickness on the slough ranges from "4 inches to none," he said. Plans call for placing a heated fish house on the ice Wednesday so divers can go directly from the heated area into the water.