Woman apparently drowns in pond near her home

2012-09-03T19:45:00Z 2012-09-04T12:01:04Z Woman apparently drowns in pond near her homeChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

Authorities discovered the body of an 80-year-old woman Monday after she apparently drowned in a pond near her Morgan Township home.

Ethel Bottom, who had dementia, was last seen going to bed Sunday night.

The Porter County Sheriff's Department responded to a Division Road residence for a report of a missing woman about 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Bottom was found in a pond behind the home about 3:25 p.m. by the Lake County Sheriff's Department helicopter. Officers brought Bottom to the shore by boat and she was pronounced dead of an apparent drowning, sheriff's Sgt. Larry LaFlower said.

Her son, Michael Bottom, remembered his mother Monday night as a loving, caring woman. He lived next door to his mother and said the family notified police when he couldn't find her.

“She always helped people, anybody who needed help,” Michael Bottom said. “Whatever you needed, she was there for you. She loved to talk with people and sit with you.”

The drowning is believed to be accidental, and there was no sign of foul play, according to a news release from LaFlower.

Police said Bottom had been known to walk around the property and trails behind the residence.

LaFlower said authorities were unsure how long she had been in the lake.

Several police and fire agencies assisted in the search, including the Valparaiso Police Department, Morgan Township Fire Department, Washington Township Fire Department, Lake County Sheriff's Department, Porter County Emergency Management Agency, Indiana conservation officers and Porter County coroner's office.

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