Montgomery County

Amsterdam woman found dead drowned, Montgomery County sheriff says


FORT HUNTER — Amsterdam resident Amanda R. Gifford, 33, was found dead in the Mohawk River near Lock 12 Wednesday morning and an autopsy and investigation has determined “at this time” that her death was caused by accidental drowning.

Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Smith issued a news release Friday explaining some details about the investigation.

“At about 10 a.m. [Wednesday], the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office 911 center received a call for a body in the water near Lock 12, which is located on the Mohawk River,” Smith wrote. “Members of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police Troop G responded. Upon arrival, the body of a female was discovered partially submerged in the water on the south side of the river bank. Information learned during the investigation revealed that the female, identified as 33-year-old Amanda R. Gifford of Amsterdam, had been at the river bank with an acquaintance overnight and was discovered deceased by that person just prior to the time of call to the 911 Center.”

Smith said the identity of Gifford’s acquaintance will not be revealed at this time. He said some specifics about Gifford’s last night alive are being withheld out of respect to Gifford’s family and “other people involved.”

Gifford’s death was investigated by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, the New York State Police Troop G Bureau of Criminal Investigations Unit, the New York State Police Troop G Forensic Identification Unit and Montgomery County District Attorney Lorraine Diamond.

Smith said the autopsy of Gifford’s body was conducted by an Albany Medical Center forensic pathologist.

“At this time, based on the autopsy and investigation results, Gifford’s death has been ruled an accidental drowning,” reads the news release.

Smith said it’s important to be careful in places where there is a risk of drowning, particularly at night.

“If you’re near a body of water, any body of water, you need to be cautious and careful, especially at night when it’s dark, and there’s rocks with instability when you’re walking around the shores,” he said.

Smith said he’s seen a lot of social media comments referencing Gifford’s death by people who “don’t know any of the facts.” He said her death was a tragic accident.

“There definitely was no evidence of foul play,” he said.




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