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Gold Hill woman found dead in Rogue

A 65-year-old Gold Hill woman who lost her home to a fire in 2010 was found dead Friday when Oregon State Police discovered her submerged car in the Rogue River.

Melinda Fluck's 1998 Subaru Legacy was near the 4400 block of Rogue River Highway when it was spotted by a patrol boat.

On Friday, OSP responded to a report of vandalized mailbox. A trooper noticed fresh skid marks and other evidence to suggest a vehicle had struck the mailbox, and then went down the embankment into the river.

There was no vehicle visible in the river at the time, and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office responded with a marine patrol boat. They located a submerged vehicle approximately a quarter mile downstream. They also determined Fluck was dead inside the vehicle.

Because it was getting dark, the OSP returned Saturday morning to retrieve the Subaru from the river. OSP also had a trooper stay on the scene through the night.

The OSP's preliminary investigation indicates Fluck was traveling southbound on Rogue River Highway when she may have drifted to the east shoulder, over corrected and the crossed both lanes before going over the embankment into the river.

More information will he released as the investigation progresses. OSP was also assisted by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

In Nov. 17, 2010, a fire gutted Fluck's rural home between Rogue River and Gold Hill.

According to fire investigators, Fluck awoke around 2 p.m. and smelled smoke. She saw a small fire in the bedroom and tried to douse it with water. When the flames spread, she and her dog fled to safety.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Oregon State Police retrieve a 1998 Subaru Legacy on Saturday in Rogue River. [Contributed photo]