Body found in Virginia national park believed to be missing university lecturer

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A body found Saturday in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park is believed to be missing University of Virginia lecturer Julia Christine Devlin, according to the National Park Service.

A cause of death has not been established, NPS officials said in a news release.

“The body of a female believed to be Ms. Devlin was discovered by searchers (Saturday) at 10 a.m. in extremely steep and rough terrain in the southernmost part of the park,” the release said.

“The body is being transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Augusta County for positive ID and determination of cause of death.”

A “preliminary identification of the remains” indicated it is Devlin, officials said. Any further searching in the park has been suspended, the release said.

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Investigators say Devlin’s car was found abandoned along the park’s popular Skyline Road on July 17. The road runs the entire 105-mile length of the park and is frequently the site of collisions with wildlife, park officials say.

Devlin, 55, works at UVA in Charlottesville as a lecturer in the Economics Department, according to a university spokesperson.

She was last seen July 14 in Charlottesville, which is about 30 miles from the park, according to the National Park Service’s Investigative Service’s Branch. The branch is leading the investigation.

“Her white Lexus sedan was found wrecked and abandoned in the southern part of Shenandoah National Park,” NPS officials said in a July 22 news release. “Security footage revealed that her car entered the park late Wednesday, July 14.”

Shenandoah National Park includes more than 200,000 acres within the Blue Ridge Mountains range and has more than 500 miles of hiking trails, according to its website.

The wildlife population includes venomous snakes and black bears, the park says. Wildlife collisions “are common” on Skyline Drive, prompting strict enforcement of a 35 mph speed limit and rules against drivers stopping in the road to take photos.

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