UPDATE: Nicholas flood victim a ‘strong, independent woman,’ family says

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UPDATE POSTED JULY 30, 2021 AT 6:14 P.M.

CARLISLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Heavy rains that led to flash flooding overnight has left one person dead and a county devastated. On Friday, the Nicholas County coroner’s office pronounced 66-year-old Deborah Ritchie dead. According to Carlisle and Nicholas County fire crews, her body was found in the brush fork creek, about 600 feet from her home. Community members say the discovery was devastating.

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“It hits more home. Hopefully it makes everybody realize that it can just be a matter of minutes anything can happen,” says April Crump, a homeowner.

Ritchie’s future son-in-law told ABC 36 News she was a “Strong independent woman who fought hard her entire life to make sure her family had what they needed. She will be missed immeasurably and this will definitely require time for our hearts to recover from this tragedy.”

Because of the damage done by the water overnight, the community as a whole will need a significant amount of time to recover emotionally and financially. Crump says the destruction of her home was like something out of a movie.

“The water just started gushing in almost like in the movie titanic where the water was just gushing down the hallways its almost like what it seemed to me,” says Crump.

On Thursday night, Mayor Ronnie Clark says crews had to use boats to rescue people. In the case of Deborah Ritchie, not everyone could be saved.

“Of all the things that has happened that is something that we can’t fix. I’d do anything I could to fix this and with that being said we are here for them,” says Mayor Clark.

People like Crump believe better days are ahead as long as people stick together.

“Yeah we lost personal belongings we lost our material stuff some sentimental stuff. But we are grateful we have each other,” says Crump.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED JULY 30, 2021 AT 10:27 A.M.

NICHOLAS COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Nicholas County Coroner’s Office is investigating an early morning death, following flash flooding.

The coroner has identified the victim has 66-year-old Deborah Ritchie of Carlisle.

In a statement, the family said it is trying to grasp what has happened.

“At the moment, we’re just trying to wrap our minds around this. It was so unexpected, and happened without warning. She was a strong, independent woman, who fought hard her entire life to make sure her family had what they needed. She will be missed immeasurably, and this will definitely require time for our hearts to recover from this tragedy,” Justin Griggs, a close family friend, said of Ritchie and the loss.

According to the coroner’s office, Carlisle Police received a distress call from Ritchie Friday morning from her home on Moorefield Road. Once on scene, police were unable to locate Ritchie. The coroner’s office said Carlisle and Nicholas County fire crews then formed a search team.

Ritchie’s body was found a short time later in Brush Fork Creek around 600 feet from her home, according to the coroner’s office.