Body found in Barren River near Greencastle Dam

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – At just before 6 p.m. Sunday the body of a young Hispanic woman was pulled from Barren River near the Greencastle lock and dam.

Emergency crews were called out after someone reported seeing a body in the water.

Multiple fire personnel, emergency medical services, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the Warren County Coroner’s Office, Warren County Emergency Management and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.

Warren County Deputy Coroner Dwayne Lawrence was taken out on a boat to assist in the recovery effort.

Monday, Lawrence identified the woman as Blanca Esmeralda Hernandez, 20, of Bowling Green. The state medical examiner’s office conducted an autopsy Monday and there were no signs of trauma to her body, Lawrence said.

“Hearing a mom cry in the background, even if you can’t understand the language, you understand the tears of a parent. You know that. That’s universal. Grief crosses all lines. You make a connection. They are coming in tomorrow to make the arrangements and I want to be here for them to help them,” said Lawrence.

Just after Lawrence got out of one of rescue boats Sunday, law enforcement handed him what appeared to be personnel effects.

“I want to be able to tell the family that I treated her like my own. You know, I see my own child’s face. You do. People think, and I just hate saying, I hate when they say, ‘You should be used to this by now, you know 40 something years.’ How can you get used to the loss of somebody’s child? The loss of anybody,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence said someone found her cell phone and other items on top of one of the locks.

“It’s really rough waters especially right now with all the rain we’ve had. The flow off that dam is heavy. So, it doesn’t take much to wear you out. And, you know, whether you can swim or you cannot, it’s still hard in that water,” said Lawrence.

Esmeralda Hernandez appeared to be 5-foot-4 and 135 pounds, and was wearing tennis shoes, blue and white striped shorts and a navy t-shirt with a Johnson Equipment logo.

No witnesses were located at the scene.

Anyone who may have seen the victim in the area or has any information is encouraged to contact Kentucky State Police Post 3 in Bowling Green or call Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at 1-800-25-ALERT. Anonymous tips also can be made to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife by texting “KFWLAW” along with a message to 847411 (tip411) or through the KFWLaw app. The free app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store

An autopsy is scheduled July 19 at the State Medical Examiner’s office in Louisville, Kentucky. This incident remains under investigation.