3 Missing North Dakota College Softball Players Found Dead

Jeep with Dickinson State U. softball players pulled from pond.

BySARAH NETTER via via logo
November 03, 2009, 7:11 AM

Nov. 3, 2009— -- Three North Dakota college softball players who had been missing since Sunday, were found dead today, after the Jeep they were traveling in was pulled from a pond, police said.

Police said foul play was not suspected in the deaths of the three women.

Searchers told police this afternoon that they found vehicle tracks leading into a pond with oil residue floating on the surface, and a dive team discovered a vehicle in the pond approximately two hours later, Dickinson, N.D., Police Department Lt. Rodney Banyai said.

The dive team investigated and two hours later, a 1997 White Cherokee was pulled from the pond. The three Dickinson State University softball players they had been searching for were found dead in the vehicle, Banyai said.

Authorities are still investigating what caused the death of the three young women: Kyrstin Gemar, 22, Ashley Neufeld, 21 and Afton Williamson, 20.

A team of divers spent Tuesday searching two lakes for the three missing womenstudents, but found no sign of them.

The young women were believed to have been stargazing north of the Patterson Lake areabefore they disappeared.

Police said one of the women placed two phone calls to a friend shortly before midnight, asking for help.

Authorities have said the women said something about water, and the friend reported hearing "hysterical noises" before the line went dead. The friend then called 911.

Dickinson Police Lt. Dave Wallace told the AP that the calls came in less than one minute apart. But he did not say which of the women called or what exact words were used.

Gemar's father, Lenny Gemar, told "Good Morning America" today that from the call for help it cames across as sounding "more like an accident of some kind."

Missing Women Were Avid Softball Players

Gemar said the women would often meet up with friends and chat under the stars.

"That was something they would commonly do," he said. "It's a pretty small town, doesn't have a real active nightlife."

Gemar was from Grossmont, Calif., Williamson from Lake Elsinore, Calif., and Neufeld, 21, was from Manitoba, Canada.

Gemar, her father said, was an avid softball player with a one-track mind.

"She lives for softball," Lenny Gemar said this morning. "I hate to say this, but school is secondary. She goes to school and gets good grades so she can play."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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