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HOUSTON Funeral services are scheduled Friday for Lillian High, the 82-year-old woman who went missing in October, and whose story came to a tragic end last week when her car was found submerged in a southeast Houston retention pond.

High s family said forensic tests have not yet revealed a cause of death or shed light on the cause of the accident. But now that Earl High has seen his mom s car in person, he knows searchers had little chance of finding her at all.

It was a mess, said Earl High. Buried in mud, inside and out.

Not only was the woman s black Dodge Avenger rental car submerged under 8 feet of water in the retention pond at Freehill and Kurland Dr., but it was also almost completely buried in mud and silt at the bottom of the pond, invisible to anyone walking by and even hidden from the view of aircraft passing overhead. It turns out the car was so buried in mud that when Texas EquuSearch used sonar to search the same pond just a few weeks ago, they found nothing.

Members of the Houston police dive team said they found the car by accident last week during a training dive, when one of their lines snagged on it.

Lillian High was unfamiliar with the car she was driving. It was a rental car. Her usual vehicle was in the shop when she left for work that morning in October, never to return. But her family believes that the 82-year-old, who was on medication after at least one mild stroke, may have suffered a medical problem that made her veer from her usual route. Earl High said his mom wouldn t have normally driven on Freehill. He believes she may have suffered a medical problem, turned around, and was headed home or to his house.

I firmly believe that when she went in the water she had already breathed her last breath and she was already in heaven, said Earl High. She didn t suffer. Not at all.

I guess I have to believe that, or else it s just not something I could live with, said Lillian High s daughter, Betsy Krevosky.

Investigators don t know if forensic tests will reveal what caused Lillian High to veer from the road and crash into the retention pond. But High s family said they are confident that police and volunteer searchers did everything they could to find her.

I know people who volunteered, who didn t even know her, who just showed up and looked, said Krevosky. We appreciate that more than words could ever say.

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