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The white van appearing on the La Salle shoreline west of Route 351 has been identified as belonging to Nancy L. Greening, 62, of Peru. Greening was reported missing Friday, the same day this aerial photo was taken from an altitude of at least 700 feet.
The search resumes this morning for a woman whose van was spotted Friday at the edge of the Illinois River near La Salle — but hopes are dimming she will be found safe. Conservation police Sgt. Robert “Hank” Frazier said searchers would be dispatched into the Illinois River again at mid-morning today — the search had been suspended Sunday afternoon — in hopes of finding 62-year-old Nancy L. Greening of Peru. But Frazier said he’s less optimistic. “If she’d have been there, we’d have found her,” Frazier said. “We’ve searched the entire area very thoroughly, but we’re going to search until we’ve exhausted every possible means.” Greening was last seen Friday, according to her daughter’s Facebook account, and reported missing. A key clue to her whereabouts was an aerial photograph taken Friday afternoon by NewsTribune photographer Genna Ord. She and a pilot were flying at an altitude of 700 to 800 feet at the time. Upon seeing Greening’s white van at riverside near the Shippingsport Bridge on the La Salle side, pilot Bill Migliorini radioed Illinois Valley Regional Airport, and instructed Linda Kozel to contact the authorities. Kozel said she dialed La Salle police at once. The call was logged at 3:26 p.m. Friday, according to La Salle police records. La Salle police chief Rob Uranich said officers from his and neighboring agencies did, based on the general location conveyed, immediately attempt to locate the van. But the van was not visible from any roadside vantage point accessible to his or other responding officers. When Ord’s photo appeared online via the NewsTribune website Saturday, La Salle police were able to discern an approximate location on the La Salle side of the river, west of Route 351, and they directed Conservation police accordingly. “At approximately 4 p.m. Illinois Conservation Police located her vehicle,” Frazier said in a press release. “She had driven around the closed road barricades into flood waters on Route 351 between the Illinois River and the (Illinois and Michigan) Canal.” Conservation police, state police and Peru and Oglesby Fire Departments initiated a search, he said, and several Conservation police boats were launched. An Illinois Department of Transportation helicopter was used in an attempt to locate Greening, he said, but the search was terminated due to water condition and fading daylight hours. The search was resumed at 8 a.m. Sunday with search teams from Conservation police, fire departments and river rescue units from Mendota, Ottawa, Streator, Wallace, Grand Ridge Wenona, Peru, Oglesby, Utica, and La Salle, as well as state and La Salle police and IDOT personnel.