Church community mourns death of missing woman found in Rock Riv - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Church community mourns death of missing woman found in Rock River this weekend

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Janesville (WKOW)-- Janesville police are still investigating the death of 75-year-old Mary Coulthard who went missing May 2nd and was found in the Rock River one week later. Officials say it appears that the cause of death was drowning and there are no obvious signs of trauma. Many people who went to Coulthard's church are still coming to terms with her death.

"When that Sunday came and she didn't show up, we knew something was really wrong," Pastor Jeff Williams says. "We were all praying for her. One week later we're saddened after hearing what we were praying we wouldn't hear."

Faith Community Church in Janesville was so much more than a place of worship for Coulthard. Members say it was her home away from home, a place where she could serve others and find peace. Every Sunday one of the church's vans would stop by Coulthard's apartment and pick her up for 11:00 a.m. mass. Members say Janesville Police officers were at the mass on Sunday May 4th, because they believed there was a chance she could've showed up.

Pastor Williams says Coulthard recently decided to show her love of the church in a monetary way just weeks before she went missing. She made a sizable donation towards the church's upcoming building expansion project that aims to create a 700 seat worship space on the property. Pastor Williams wouldn't say how much Coulthard gave, but said the amount was overwhelming for a person of her means.

"I tried to convince her otherwise. She said this is what would make her happy and she gave a large amount of money eventhough she didn't have a lot of money to give," Williams says. "I just remember her smile and that's my last memory of her. My last recollection of her is that big smile of knowing that she had made a difference, that her generosity was going to make an impact."

Williams says many church members participated in the searches along the Rock River this week. Members also organized a prayer vigil for Coulthard in order to send thoughts and prayers for a safe recovery.

The Janesville Police Department says a few of Coulthard's personal belongings were recovered during the searches last week. A resident found her purse and a few dozen church fliers in a garbage can a few blocks from Coulthard's home. Church members say they're not surprised because she often gave them out to people when she thought they might need help.

"She gave beyond what anybody could've imagined and she did it out of the kindness and generosity of her own heart. It's something she wanted to do," Williams says. "Her passion was so infectious."


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