The body of a missing Hawley woman was recovered from Lake Wallenpaupack Tuesday afternoon about 50 yards out from the boat launch area at Mangan Cove.




Holly Ann Steffens, 28, had reportedly been missing since late Sunday, early Monday morning. State Police at Blooming Grove had received a missing person’s report on Steffens 10:30 a.m. Monday for an area west of the PPL Environmental Learning Center on Lake Wallenpaupack.


The body of a missing Hawley woman was recovered from Lake Wallenpaupack Tuesday afternoon about 50 yards out from the boat launch area at Mangan Cove.


Holly Ann Steffens, 28, had reportedly been missing since late Sunday, early Monday morning. State Police at Blooming Grove had received a missing person’s report on Steffens 10:30 a.m. Monday for an area west of the PPL Environmental Learning Center on Lake Wallenpaupack.
 Trooper Bill Satkowski, Public Information Officer, for Troop R, Dunmore told reporters on scene, “We’re still trying to determine a time line of when she was actually seen, where she was and what possibly could have happened to her ...So it is still an ongoing, active investigation.”

Rescue personnel, including a State Police helicopter flying overhead, had assembled just after 9 a.m.  
Wayne County District Attorney Mike Lehutsky arrived on scene Tuesday afternoon. In a phone call later that day, Lehutsky said, “There’s a lot that needs to be looked into ...the circumstances surrounding her death.” As of 4:30 p.m., Lehutsky said he was still awaiting the scheduling of an autopsy.


“A nice girl.” 
Tom Utegg, Hawley Ambulance Chief, described Steffens as “a nice girl. A little sweetheart. She used to work at Sunoco, right there by the (Hawley) Borough building. ...I know she has children. I don’t know how many,” he said Tuesday, at Mangan Cove.


Standing nearby, Colien Ashcraft of Hawley said, “She was really nice, always very nice to everyone. She was a good mother, too.”


Ledgedale Fire Department Scuba Team located Steffens’ body in 23 feet of water. Rescue personnel had assembled at the PPL Environmental Learning Center, just off Route 6, before being directed to the other side of the Lake by the Pennsylvania State Police. Ledgedale Dive Captain Joe Sledzinski said they were able to locate the body within about six minutes of entering the water, based on information they’d received.


“Conditions started out very sunny,” Captain Sledzinski said, before a thunderstorm rolled in. “It was turning bad pretty quick when we found our target. It started lightning, so we had to expedite.” With very little information to go by, the Captain says they set up a grid. “When you start a search, you have to have a known starting point and a known finish point. That’s how you grid the lake.


“If somebody were to go down in a body of water, the rule of thumb is, they’re going to be within the diameter of the depth of the water,” the Captain said. So, if someone goes down in 20 feet of water, they’ll be found within 20 feet of where they went in, he said.  

 
Per protocol, they allowed one rescue diver in the water at a time. Divers reported being able to see only about 2 1/2 to three feet in front of them. “If you put your hand out, you probably couldn’t see what was in your hand,” the Captain said. Their extensive training combined with the public information they’d received led to the recovery, he said.


Recoveries are hard on a dive team, he said, taking an emotional toll. “We look at it that we’re doing a service for that family. Now that family can lay their daughter to rest.”


Sixteen members of Ledgedale’s dive team responded. Also on scene were the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission; Tafton Fire Company, Dive and Rescue Team, fire police and ambulance; Hawley Ambulance; State Police at Honesdale, Blooming Grove and Dunmore, along with the State Police Aviation team from Harrisburg; and the Blooming Grove and Porter Township Emergency Management unit.

  
There were approximately 75 emergency personnel working together on scene, Trooper Satkowski said.