Body found in Norwalk

Zoe Greszler • Updated Mar 25, 2019 at 5:10 PM

(UPDATED at 5:09 p.m. Monday, March 25, 2019)

The body of a woman found Sunday in Norwalk has been identified by her family.

It was Arleen Brush, the Norwalk woman who had been missing since late February. Brush’s niece, Heather Thompson, shared the news and thanked the community for their support and assistance in finding her missing aunt.

“I would like to thank the many, many people who shared my missing person photo, regarding my aunt Arleen Brush in Norwalk,” Thompson said in the Facebook post. “Unfortunately, this did not go the way we had hoped and her body was found as of this (Sunday) afternoon. Again thank you to all who shared the post and God bless you all!!!”

Huron County Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Harwood confirmed “the findings of her body seem consistent with the Miss Arlene Brush that was missing.”

The coroner said specifics leading to Brush’s death would be revealed after the Lucas County Coroner’s Office finishes its autopsy and report.

However, Harwood said “it appears it was a natural cause of death.”

“We have no suspicion to believe it was foul play,” Norwalk Police Chief Mike Conney said.

A group of people looking for Brush found her body in the woods between Norwalk High School and Christie Avenue. Conney said the body was not found on school property.

Harwood was called to the scene about 11:30 a.m. The coroner and police then waited for Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCII) agents to arrive before processing the scene, Harwood said.

“Everything at the scene leads us to believe it’s her,” Conney said.

Confirmation could come today, when the autopsy is scheduled to be performed.

“Based on the condition of the body, we have to wait for the autopsy for confirmation,” Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Seth Fry.

Regarding Brush’s disappearance and death, questions remain.

“It would appear that she voluntarily left the home,” Harwood said. “She had some personal items with her. I'm not exactly sure why she was where she was, but again it appears she left her home voluntarily. She had a small amount of supplies and clothing with her.

“I don't know that she intended to return home exactly,” Harwood added. “I’m not sure what her intentions were, but it seems, I think, that she intended to leave the home. She had taken a small amount of clothing and some snacks and a couple small bags of personal belongings with her.”

If today’s autopsy doesn’t reveal the cause of the death, then authorities will have to await the results of toxicology tests, something that could take months.

“It will all be revealed in time,” Harwood said.

Brush was last seen in late February. She was reported missing by her daughter, who asked Norwalk police to check on the woman at her Concord Court apartment March 2.

Brush’s daughter, Lindsey Brush, of Grafton, said family and friends organized a search party at the reservoir, but it turned up no results. Police searched that area as well.

Police said they had little to work with as they searched for Brush, calling it “a mystery.”

In addition to the reservoir, searches were made in the area around Brush’s apartment complex. A drone also was used.

“She has no car. No phone. No known places she frequents. Nothing like that,” Fry previously told the Reflector. “She is not originally from Norwalk. She has lived here the last three years. This is very uncharacteristic of her. She is very reserved and she doesn’t like to be around people, including family and friends.”

“There are no signs of any foul play,” Fry added. “It appears she left on her own accord.”

* * *

(UPDATED at 11:15 p.m. Sunday, March 24, 2019)

Huron County Coroner Dr. Jeffery Harwood commented on the case involving the body that was found today in Norwalk.

Harwood said the body was sent to the Lucas County Coroner’s Office for further evaluation. He said he expected some information to be available early next week.

However, other details “could take a while to hear back about,” he said.

“I think we have a pretty good idea with the identification of the person,” Harwood added. “It will all be revealed in time.”

* * * 


A dead body was found today in Norwalk.

Norwalk Police Chief Mike Conney confirmed that the body was found in the city today.

However, it was not found on Norwalk High School property as some social media rumors were indicating, he said.

“Identification has not been confirmed nor has the cause of death,” Conney told the Reflector. “The site was processed by BCII (Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation) agents, the Huron County Coroner’s Office and Norwalk Police Department detectives. We are awaiting confirmation of identity as well as autopsy results to determine the cause of death.” 

The time and location at which the body was found, as well as how it was discovered, could not be released as the details are part of the ongoing investigation, the police chief said.

Detective Sgt. Seth Fry is leading the investigation and Conney said more information will be released as the investigation progresses.

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