DELAWARE COUNTY, OH (WCMH) – Ohio State troopers now believe a deadly crash reported last Thursday, may have actually happened weeks ago.
Troopers said Chelsea Marie Dowler, 27, went off the east side of I-71, hit a tree and fence before stopping in a corn field in Kingston Township. Dowler had been missing from Springfield since late August. Now, investigators believe the fatal crash happened after August 20th.
Her mother, Janette Lanum said the last time she saw her daughter in August, she looked like she had been physically abused and had also been abusing heroin. She said she tried to get her daughter into rehab, but then she disappeared. Lanum filed a missing person report on August 23rd.
“We had put flyers up. We were searching for her. We were trying to get the word out,” she said. “I was afraid that they weren’t ever going to recover her body.”
Three weeks after filing a missing persons report, her daughter was found. Lanum said ODOT was doing some clean-up when they noticed clothes hanging in trees and then saw a red truck in the corn field.
“I was concerned that we would never find her, that we would never have closure and I was worried more about her sons not knowing what happened to their mother and not having a place to go visit her,” said Lanum.
Now, investigators said they believe the crash happened after August 20th, weeks before she was found.
“Chelsea is gone. My daughter is dead. Whether it would be a car accident, an overdose or someone harmed her. The outcomes the same,” said Lanum. “I was blessed to be her mother and I will miss her every day.”
Lanum said the coroner’s office will be conducting an extensive autopsy to rule out homicide and to determine exactly how she died. Dowler leaves behind two sons.