Divers postpone search of Memorial Lake for Kortne Stouffer to prepare

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The search for Kortne Stouffer, who mysteriously disappeared from her Palmyra apartment almost two years ago, has been postponed. A dive team stepped up to help in the search after a tip came in that her body may be at the bottom of Memorial Lake in Lebanon County. New Cumberland River Rescue had planned to start their search Sunday, but now it has been pushed back to at least later next week.

Diver Commander Christopher Zeigler of New Cumberland River Rescue said if this was his family, he would want people to volunteer to help. “I have children, God forbid any of them went missing, I would want someone taking every step possible. So if there is something I can do to give back I would be more than happy to.”

Zeigler said they are taking extra time to prepare resources and divers and insure a thorough and safe search. They will use equipment like underwater infrared cameras and sonar radar. “Sonar, that could be dropped in from a boat. Or a side scan sonar will scan the bottom of the surfaces an at least give us an outline of the lake,” said Zeigler. He said calls have been pouring in from all of the state with divers wanting to help. They are taking to assemble all of their resources. “We are sending emails, making phone calls, trying to get everyone’s availability to do this as safe as possible.”

Zeigler doesn’t expect the search will be easy. “Depending on the different stages of decomposition, and what else is in the lake, or if there is under currents it could potentially be moved,” said Zeigler.

According to Park Manager Corey Snyder, the 85-acre is 22- feet deep at certain points with two boat launches. He said it recently thawed out. “It all depends on the clarity and ice coverage. It was completely covered a few weeks back. It was pretty deep. It got between 11 to 14 inches,” said Snyder.

The State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources would coordinate with search efforts if they are approved by authorities, according to Christina Novak, a DCNR Spokesperson. Novak also said  Memorial Lake is one of the places in state parks where they allow scuba diving by the public.  People need to contact the park office to be notified of certification requirements, park diving areas and park-specific diving information.