'Exposure' cited in death of 26-year-old Orcas woman

Maria Massey - Contributed photo
Maria Massey
— image credit: Contributed photo

An Orcas Island woman who went missing following an early morning collision on Crow Valley Road the day before Thanksgiving is believed to have died of exposure, according to local officials.

San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord, who, in the role of county prosecutor, doubles as county corner as well, said results of an autopsy confirm that Maria Massey did not suffer fatal injuries as a result of the crash that precipitated her disappearance.

The body of the 26-year-old was found by a search party the following day in a wooded area, near a pump house, about a half-mile from crash scene, collided into a tree in the 2600 block of Crow Valley Road in the early morning hours of Nov. 21.

"There is every indication that she died of exposure," Gaylord said, adding that additional information may be revealed in results of a pending toxicology report.

Gaylord noted temperatures plummeted to about 35 degrees and that there was a steady amount of wind and rain on the day that Massey went missing. The cause of the crash remains unresolved, he noted.

"We have no explanation to why she went off the road," he said.

Known for having a beautiful singing voice, Massey was active in Orcas Island's theater and dramatic arts community. Her Facebook page was flooded by an outpouring of loving messages, such as "We will always remember you Maria!" and "I'll miss you and your headstrong smile", in the wake of her disappearance and untimely death.

She was honored by family and friends in a celebration of life, Dec. 22, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.


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