Body found in Mesa lake identified as missing 71-year-old woman

Police say the woman was identified as 71-year-old Palma Whatcott, who suffered from dementia.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 5:49 AM MST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 4:09 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Police have identified the body found early Tuesday morning in a Mesa lake as a missing 71-year-old woman. Mesa police say around 5:15 a.m., a witness called police, saying a person was floating in the water at Dobson Ranch Lake, near Dobson and Baseline roads. The witness said he was working on the golf course when he saw clothes and a cane near the water’s edge. He told officers that’s when he saw the upper body of someone in the water, so he went to get his boss. When the two returned to the water’s edge, they saw the body floating face down.

Mesa firefighters pulled the woman’s body out of the water, and investigators identified her as Palma Whatcott, who was reported missing on Monday. Authorities say Whatcott wandered off from her brother’s apartment near the golf course. She was later found roaming on the course and was taken back home. Whatcott’s brother told Mesa officers that his sister had dementia and had just moved in with him a week ago.

Investigators believe she opened the back gate of her brother’s home, and that’s how she got back onto the golf course. Officials believe there is no indication of foul play, but the investigation is ongoing.