Family Says Authorities Failed to Do Their Jobs After Body Of Missing Statesville Woman Is Recovered Two Days After Her Disappearance

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — An Iredell County family says first responders failed to do their jobs after their loved one disappeared, days before Christmas.

The body of 26-year-old Sequoia Cotton was found on Christmas Eve in the South Yadkin River in Iredell County.  She had been missing for two days.  The North Carolina Highway Patrol and first responders in Iredell County, including the North Iredell Rescue Squad, who did not know about the missing person’s case, first arrived on the scene on Garden Valley Road on December 22.  They used drones to search the area along the bridge, but they didn’t see anything in the water, so they did not go in.  Two days later, Sequoia’s friends and family went to the bridge, spotted a few of her belongings in the river, and called 911.  Authorities returned to the scene and then recovered her body and her car.

“If they would’ve done their job, we wouldn’t have been so frantic.  I don’t know if she would’ve made it or not, but at least we would’ve had that off of us,” says Celeste Cotton, Sequoia’s mother.

North Carolina Highway Patrol issued this statement:

“First responders decided due to the temperature of the water, the depth of the water, the risk to first responders, and because they could not pinpoint exactly where to look for the car, they made the decision not to go into the water at that time”.

The family has created a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses.  If you’d like to donate, click on the link below.