Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sun Valley woman dies near Twin Falls

Cristina Reedís body retrieved from river below Perrine Bridge

Express Staff Writer

Cristina Marie Reed

The body of a well-known Sun Valley woman was retrieved from the Snake River last Saturday morning after she jumped from the Perrine Bridge into the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls on the evening of the Fourth of July.

Several witnesses watched her jump. The Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office has determined her death was suicide.

Cristina Reed was 42. She lived her life torn by a personality disorder that is sometimes described as bipolar, or even manic-depressive. Lovely, artistic, charitable and caring are words that friends and family use to describe her. Yet she also had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse.

"She was artistic beyond all belief," her father, Travis Reed, told the Idaho Mountain Express on Tuesday. "But unfortunately, she had these other problems that just kept weighing her down. The alcohol was there to quiet the pain of the personality disorder."

The Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office was notified at 7:57 p.m. last Friday that a woman had jumped from the bridge. Sheriff's office spokeswoman Lori Nebeker said Tuesday that Reed fell from the west side of the bridge and landed in the river.

Emergency personnel were unable to retrieve her body that evening, but placed a buoy in the river where it was last seen. Reed's body was recovered a short distance from the buoy at about 10 a.m. on Saturday by the Cassia County Dive Team and Twin Falls County Search and Rescue.

Reed's father was shocked by her death, but wasn't completely surprised. Cristina Reed had been alcohol and drug free for several years but her life took a turn for the worse in April.

"She had a romantic involvement that didn't work out, and she fell off the wagon on the 14th of April and drank a bottle of wine and drove her car to Hailey and got into an accident," he said.

Cristina Reed received a head injury in the crash and was later cited for driving while under the influence.

"I just thank God that she hasn't hurt anyone else," said her father. "The notion of driving while drunk is just appalling to me."

Cristina Reed had been in trouble with the law before. She served 27 months in prison on a cocaine conviction but later had the conviction removed from her record because she worked hard to overcome her addictions and even counseled other prisoners about how alcohol and drugs had ruined her life.

She was active in Alcoholics Anonymous and even spoke to prisoners after she was released, including inmates at the Pocatello Women's Correctional Facility.

"She was trying to encourage them to get back into society and make something of their lives," her father said.

Travis Reed said Sun Valley Police Chief Cameron Daggett had watched out for Cristina over the years and treated her like a daughter.

"She's had an alcohol and drug problem for many years," said Daggett. "Her parents tried some things, police tried some things. She just led that kind of life. She's been through a lot of trauma and heartbreak."

But drugs and alcohol are only part of the story of Cristina Reed.

She frequently volunteered for community service, having assisted with public information during the Castle Rock Fire last year.

"She was a wonderful aunt to her two nieces," said Nancy Kelly, the owner of 24/7 Clinical Skin Spa, the Ketchum business where Reed was last employed. "They were the sparkle in her eye. She couldn't wait for them to arrive in town.

"I'm shocked and deeply saddened," said Kelly. "She was an asset to me in the personal service business. She was incredibly beautiful herself. Lots of smiling, lots of laughing. She was just very warm and caring. Anytime you asked her for help, she'd do anything to help you.

"She was absolutely lovely," said Kelly. "She created an incredible ambience. She would bring flowers, she would bring candles. She was an amazing woman.

"It is a huge loss and I know that she will be missed very much," said Kelly. "I think the valley's lost a very generous individual."

Travis Reed said the family has been inundated with telephone calls and emails for people expressing condolence over Cristina's death.

"I've never seen such an outpouring from a community," he said.

Travis Reed said his daughter battled hard against her substance abuse, but her life took a turn for the worse when she started drinking again in April.

"To be honest with you we don't know what happened on Friday," he said. "She was at the parade, but something happened and we don't know what it was yet.

"Let's hope that this is a wake-up call for somebody else who is on that path."

Private memorial service

A private memorial service will be held for Cristina Reed, but friends may pay their respects today from noon until 7 p.m. at Wood River Chapel in Hailey. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions in Reed's name be made to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center Foundation, P.O. Box 7005, Ketchum, ID 83340.

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