The search for a missing Tennessee woman ended with a grim discovery in Loudon County on Saturday. Investigators found 20-year-old Diana Guzman dead, near the scene of a vehicle crash. The young woman had been missing for over a week before officials discovered her body not far from her wrecked car.
According to The Greeneville Sun, Guzman’s family called in the woman as a missing person’s when she failed to show up for work at the restaurant her family owns on August 11.
Tennessee officials say the vehicle rolled multiple times after Guzman ran off the road and that the young woman flew from the car during the crash. The authorities found her body at around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Experts say that, had she used her seatbelt, the outcome of the collision would likely have been very different.
— WBIR Channel 10 (@wbir) August 21, 2016
Channel 11 news spoke with Tennessee detective, Michelle Holt, about the missing woman‘s case. She said that an employee from the Department of Transportation found Guzman’s wallet Friday evening, and he called Tennessee authorities on Saturday when he saw a news story about her missing person’s case.
“[He] found a wallet alongside Interstate 40 at the Interstate 75 interchange… The TDOT employee called the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, so I went to Loudon County and met him where the wallet was found. Her wallet must have fallen out of the car as it ran off the road.”
At this time, police believe it was just an accident. Tennessee Highway Patrol released a statement this weekend, saying that the missing woman’s car was the only one involved in the collision.
Sergeant Rusty Smith issued a report, summarizing what they believe happened to the missing woman during the accident.
“[Guzman’s vehicle] was traveling southbound on Interstate 75 when it ran off the right side of the roadway and rolled several times.”
— Jerrie Dean (@JerrieDean) August 21, 2016
Officials began searching for the young woman after obtaining leads about pings they believed came from Guzman’s cell phone. Tennessee investigators contacted her cell phone company and learned that, while her phone had not made or received any calls, text messages or connections to any social media sites since the day before her disappearance, their records did show two of these pings near the Turkey Creek area.
Her phone pinged once at 1:46 a.m., close to a stretch of I75, and once again at almost 8 a.m., both within the same general area. However, since the pings show only a general proximity of a cell phone’s location, they needed more information before they could successfully locate the missing woman.
In fact, Holt said that had that TODT employee not found Guzman’s wallet and turned it in to Tennessee officials, they might still be searching for the young woman. Since Guzman had not used her cell phone or made any transactions with her debit card, those pings left little more than a cooling trail of the young woman.
“It took that TDOT worker connecting the name to the missing person and him to call. There was no way to see the car where you were driving down the road, even a helicopter there’s no way to see it.”
The official report issued about the accident also states that the exact time or day of the wreck and Guzman’s death are unknown. They only know that the collision occurred near the interchange of I40 and I75.
Guzman’s case is still under investigation. The Greene County Sheriff’s department is still following all potential leads. Officials request that anyone with any information call either 911, or call the department at 423-798-1800.
[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]