A Fernley woman who mysteriously disappeared a week ago apparently died in a crash off a state highway down an embankment near the Truckee River north of Wadsworth, authorities said Wednesday.
Brenda Scott, 44, appears to have crashed off of Highway 447 about 9 miles north of Wadsworth on June 3, the last day she'd been seen at her home in Fernley near U.S. Interstate 80 about 30 miles east of Reno.
Authorities tentatively identified her body inside her wrecked truck Wednesday afternoon just hours after her family held a news conference in Reno to plead for the public's help in locating her amid concerns she may have been kidnapped.
Investigators had said she may have been depressed because she suffers from chronic back pain but that they had been unable to develop any leads that would give them a clue as to where she is or what may have happened to her.
An aerial search team from Washoe County spotted the pickup truck about 100 feet down a cliff next to the river. An officer preliminary identified the victim as Mrs. Scott - "close enough to give a preliminary identification," said Rob Hall, a detective for the Lyon County sheriff's office.
David Spencer, a private investigator who had organized the news conference earlier in the day, said the family was "pretty shook up" but likely would be relieved to know she apparently had not met foul play.
Washoe County sheriff's deputies said it was too early to tell whether any other vehicle had been involved in the crash.
Hall said earlier in the day at the news conference he was investigating the case as a "missing person in danger or under suspicious circumstances."
Mrs. Scott's four children were among a dozen family members who appeared before television cameras to appeal for the public's help in the search.
"Please help find my mom," said Nick Scott, 14, who saw her when he left for school at 6:55 a.m. on June 3 but returned home to find her missing at 3 p.m.
Desiree Veloz, 22, said she knew something had happened to her mother because she never would have missed Nick's eighth-grade graduation party that night.
"She's been single for more than 20 years. Her kids are her life. She would never leave Nick there by himself," she told reporters earlier in the day.