Three missing women -- including a Clairemont High grad -- were found dead in North Dakota, according to police.
San Diego resident Kyrstin Gemar, 22, was last seen Sunday with 20-year-old Afton Williamson, of Lake Elsinore, Calif.; and 21-year-old Ashley Neufeld of Brandon, Manitoba.
Police say the three missing North Dakota college softball players were found dead in their vehicle, which was pulled from a pond northwest of Dickinson. Lt. Rod Banyai said Tuesday night that police are "still investigating" the cause of the deaths.
The Dickinson State University students were said to be in a white 1997 Jeep Cherokee with California plates when they were last heard from in calls made to two friends on cell phones before the lines went dead.
Banyai said the pond is about 12 feet deep on a farm northwest of Dickinson. He said searchers found vehicle tracks leading into the pond Tuesday afternoon, and searchers in an airplane flying over the site saw oil on top of the water. The submerged vehicle was pulled from the pond about two hours later, police said. Banyai, who said the vehicle will be checked for defects, also state that authorities don't know how it got into the pond.
Gemar, 22, attended Dickinson State and played softball for the school’s team. A prayer service was scheduled Tuesday night on campus.
According to one friend, the women often traveled all over the area to look at stars. The group called a friend at 11:18 p.m. on Sunday to ask for help, Dickinson police said. The call was very scratchy and mentioned that the women were near a lake and water. The call lasted for approximately 40 seconds.
One minute later another call was made that lasted approximately 30 seconds, and at that time both phones went dead and have not been in service since, police said.
That call pinged off a radar base road cell phone tower northeast of Dickinson, which could put the women anywhere up to 30 miles away, Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy told the Dickinson newspaper.
Gemar's family lives in Clairemont, and her father, Lenny Gemar, said softball was Kyrstin's life.
"it is the worst day of my life,"Lenny Gemar told the Associated Press. "A parent shouldn't bury a child. Kyrstin had such a bright future ahead of her."
Residents in the family's Clairemont neighborhood were devastated for Gemar's parents. "She (Claire Gemar) is my best neighbor, my best friend and the best mom, and Lenny is the same,"said long time neighbor Norma Lopez. "I want to be there for them."
Before heading to Dickinson State University, Gemar played softball for Grossmont College. Her coach said she was the reason that the team won the conference championship in 2006 and 2007.
"I didn't hesitate to make her my captain because I trusted her as a person,"said Coach Rick Trestrail. "I hope that other young people can look at her and her character, values and integrity and the respect she had for life, and I hope they can emulate that."