Divers volunteer to search lake for Kortne Stouffer - abc27 WHTM

Divers volunteer to search lake for Kortne Stouffer

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A dive team is preparing to search for Kortne Stouffer's body in Memorial Lake in Lebanon County.

This, after thousands of people signed a petition pushing for the search.

More than a year and a half after Stouffer disappeared from her Palmyra home, the members of New Cumberland River Rescue will search for her.

Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold was hesitant at first. He talked to abc27 News over the weekend and said he does not have enough evidence to support a search in the lake.

But more than 5,000 people signed a petition to push for the search, after an acquaintance of Stouffer's, Amanda Ballester, went public with the information. That made some waves and prompted the New Cumberland River Rescue team to dive in.

"God forbid if something happened to my children I would want somebody taking every step possible, so if it's something I can do to give back, I'm more than happy to," said Chris Zeigler, New Cumberland River Rescue Dive Commander.

It is not an easy task since the lake is 85 acres. Visibility and undercurrents will be a factor. So will debris that cannot be seen from the surface of the 22-foot-deep lake. Experienced divers will use everything from flashlights to sonar to sweep the bottom of the lake for Stouffer's body and say they will fully inspect anything that could be remains.

"If we are searching and we find something that may be of suspect is a body, we're gonna treat it like that until we find otherwise. So if we need to get equipment in there to raise it to the surface after photographs are taken, we're gonna treat it like the real thing," said Zeigler.

Regardless of what New Cumberland River Rescue finds—or does not find—in Memorial Lake, they will do their best.

"I don't think anything's gonna be a lost cause. If there's a shred of evidence that might suggest that she's in there, then by all means, we'd like to at least comfort the family," Zeigler said.

Originally the search was supposed to start on Sunday but divers said there is so much planning involved and so many people who want to help that they have to postpone until sometime later next week

The effort is extending even beyond New Cumberland. Divers said they have been inundated with calls from other divers across the Midstate and beyond who want to come and volunteer their time.

abc27 News contacted District Attorney Arnold for comment. Our calls were not returned.

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