Woman drowns while tubing on Catawba River over weekend, officials say

- Officials say a woman drowned over the weekend while tubing along the Catawba River in York County.

Christie Shipley, 44, of Rock Hill was found around 200 yards from a public parking area, according to the York County Coroner’s Office.

Shipley went missing late Saturday afternoon while tubing with a friend on the Catawba River.  Her body was recovered Sunday morning by the dive team.  

According to a report filed by Rock Hill Police, Shipley was reported missing about 10:30 p.m. Saturday by a man, whose name has been redacted from the report.

The man told police the two agreed to meet and go tubing in the water together and that they had both been drinking. He told police that Shipley "kept jumping out of her tube and into the water."

The man said he asked her to stop because the river was dangerous, but she persisted. He told officers that they floated to an area near River Park and he decided to get out since it was getting dark.

The woman "kept putting water on herself because she was saying how hot she was and wanted to cool off," according to the report.

The man told police he started pulling the tubes out of the water when he slipped on the bank of the river. He turned around to ask Shipley to get out of the water, but she wasn't there. He says he went back up the riverbank and changed clothes.

When asked why he didn’t call the police right away, the man said he'd left his phone in his truck, so he didn't have a phone to call, according to the report.

When officers asked why he didn't call police when he got back to his truck, the man said he was "under so much anxiety at that point" and went to a friend's house where he "had a couple of beers." That's when he decided to call police.

According to the report, officers found a wallet in the back of the man's trunk, along with some "zip lock bags with surgical gloves and some empty zip lock bags."  The man told officers the gloves belonged to Shipley and the empty baggies were where he "had his cell phone and other items that floated down the river with him."

The man showed police where he'd exited the river and officer said there didn't appear to be any sign of a struggle.

The case remains under investigation.

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