Foul play not suspected in death of missing Yakama woman

Rachel Norris

GOLDENDALE, Wash. — Authorities say a missing Yakama woman found dead in Klickitat County died of blunt force injuries from a fall.

While a manner of death is still pending, investigators do not suspect foul play was involved, according to Klickitat County Coroner David Quesnel.

Rachel Norris, 38, disappeared Nov.14, 2019 following an accidental fire that destroyed her Wapato home.

Family members say she headed to her parents’ house in Wapato before driving more than 50 miles away to Goldendale to visit her sister. 

After that, she disappeared; family members put up flyers and spoke out publicly, searching for Rachel, who loved huckleberry-picking and had an infectious smile that brought joy to those around her.

Her aunt, Kathryn Schwartz, said that search ended when Rachel was found dead in Klickitat County earlier this week.

She said someone spotted Rachel’s car off the side of the road from the Oregon side of State Route 14: it wasn’t visible from the Washington side.

Klickitat County sheriff’s deputies found her car totaled and abandoned near milepost 105, about 10 miles south of Goldendale, Schwartz said.

Schwartz said search and rescue team members were in a helicopter when they spotted Rachel’s body at the bottom of a cliff, a short distance from where her car was found.

Further details about the circumstances leading up to Rachel’s death are pending, as the Washington State Patrol continues to investigate, Quesnel said.