Orange City, Florida — The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after the body of an adult female was found in a vehicle submerged in the St. Johns River near Blue Spring State Park.
The Sheriff’s Office received a call from a boat captain around 10:50 a.m., who reported a kayaker had seen a vehicle in the water near a boat ramp at the end of French Avenue in Orange City.
Responding deputies recovered the vehicle a short time later and confirmed a body was inside. She has been identified as Kathy Marie Hilbert, 57, of Daytona Beach.
Hilbert’s son had requested a well-being check on Hilbert on January 6. Daytona Beach Police responded and ultimately put out a countywide BOLO (Be on the lookout) for Hilbert.
Her son told authorities that his mother was a recovering alcoholic and had been sober for a month, but recently started drinking again.
“I don’t know what went wrong,” said Hilbert’s boyfriend of 16-years, Jim Butzin. “I really don’t. She deserved a better life than she had. She was a wonderful woman.”
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, Gary Davidson, said they do not suspect foul play at this time. However, Hilbert’s son said his mother has attempted suicide in the past.
The official cause and manner of death will be determined by the medical examiner’s office.