Authorities ID body found in drainage ditch as Paynesville woman


Authorities in west-central Minnesota are trying to find out why Toni Cottrill turned up dead in a drainage ditch in Meeker County this week.

According to the Meeker County Sheriff's Office, deputies responding to a report of a missing person discovered the 39-year-old's body in Swede Grove Township on Monday night, a news release says. The body was subsequently sent to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office and identified as Cottrill.

Officials are now saying her cause of death was "probably drowning," though authorities are still investigating what led up to the Paynesville resident's demise.

She was last seen at a residence (where she did not live) on 518th Avenue, according to a previous appeal for information,about a third of a mile away from where her body was eventually found.

Authorities haven't yet released any further details about either Cottrill or the circumstances surrounding the discovery of her body.

Investigators are asking anyone who might have come into contact with Cottrill on Nov. 29 or Nov. 30. to come forward and call Meeker County Sheriff's Office at 320-693-5400.

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