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Woman killed in James River was wanted for meth lab explosion

Posted at 12:44 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 19:46:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The woman who apparently drowned in the James River Tuesday morning was wanted for a crime in another state.

Amy Briscoe, 36, was a suspect in a February meth lab explosion in Steuben County, New York.

A Richmond detective confirmed that it was her body that was pulled from the river near the Manchester Bridge.

Investigators said Briscoe and a man were wading in the water when they were swept away.

Amy Briscoe

Amy Briscoe

RPD officers were called to the 400 block of West 6th Street for a report of body in the river under the Manchester Bridge just after 10:35 a.m.

Detectives reported that witnesses said Briscoe and another man were wading along the south shore when they were apparently swept away by the current and carried over a low-head dam -- basically a giant curve.

"Just North of the Manchester, there's a low-head dam with a hydraulic below it. And people call that a drowning machine," Richmond Police spokesman Gene Lepley said.

"The man was able to make it to shore but Briscoe was trapped by the hydraulic current immediately below the dam. Her body eventually floated free and came to rest on a rock downstream," Lepley said. "Members of the Richmond Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue Team recovered the body and brought it to shore."

The male victim, who was suffering from hypothermia, was taken to an area hospital.

Briscoe's exact cause and manner of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“As warmer weather approaches, the James River will become a busy place, but people need to be aware of the dangers,” Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said. “Everyone needs to respect the power of the river with its cold, swift-moving water. A moment’s inattention or a bad decision can be a life-threatening mistake.”