Atwood Police Chief Rob Bross confirmed the person discovered in a field west of Atwood by volunteers on Tuesday, December 27 was Karen Fennessy of Atwood.
Autopsy results on Thursday, December 29, indicated that Fennessy’s death was due to exposure to cold weather. Piatt County Coroner’s Office said this case is being investigated as a tragic accident and out of respect for the family, no further information will be released at this time. The case is under investigation by Atwood Police Department, Piatt County Sheriff’s Department and Piatt County Coroner’s Office.
Fennessy ran from her family’s home about 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 22. The 20-year-old woman was apparently suffering a mental crisis. After being unable to find her, family members contacted authorities about 11:15 p.m. They immediately began a search that went on for days in dangerously cold temperatures.
First responders searched in Atwood on December 23, and that morning, Bross said police received information that Fennessy was observed in the area of Central Avenue and Kentucky Street late on December 22. Residents were asked to check their garages, outbuildings, or unlocked vehicles and report any concerns to police by dialing 911.
First responders and others checked several leads during her disappearance but did not locate her until Tuesday afternoon.
Chief Bross stated in a news release “First responders would like to extend our condolences to Ms. Fennessy’s family and friends.
Beside the Atwood Police Department, others that assisted in looking for Fennessy were Atwood and Arthur firefighters, Piatt and Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies and the Douglas County Search and Rescue/Emergency Management Agency.