An autopsy Thursday confirmed the identity of a missing Fernley woman found dead near Nixon.
The body of Brenda Scott was recovered about 11 p.m. Wednesday nearly 300 feet down an embankment off Highway 447, seven miles south of Nixon in Washoe County, said Lyon County Sheriff's Detective Rob Hall.
A search-and-rescue crew from Washoe County spotted Scott's mangled truck along the bank of the Truckee River in an area known to locals as Dead Ox on the Pyramid Lake Reservation. She was found 40 or 50 feet from the wreckage, Hall said.
Scott was last seen June 3 by her 14-year-old son Nick as the eighth-grader left for school from their Hastings Way home.
Hall said the autopsy was unable to pinpoint Scott's cause of death.
It's unclear why the single mother was in the desolate area on a day when she'd planned a graduation gathering for her only son, Hall said.
"She liked the water," he said, referring to Pyramid Lake, which could be reached from Highway 447. "Nobody knows why she was in that particular place at that particular time."
Family members, who held a press conference in Reno hours before Scott was found, said they believe she was out of cigarettes and may have gone to a reservation smoke shop. Hall said a smoke shop is along that road.
Tire tracks indicate Scott was traveling on a dirt road with a cliff on one side and the highway on the other, and not on the blacktop of Highway 447. Why she went off the cliff remains a mystery, he said.
"We don't know if she was out there at night and thought that was part of the road or if she intended to do that and gunned it. We just don't know at this point," he said.
He said Washoe County will investigate the truck to determine if mechanical failure contributed to the accident.
"We have absolutely no information or evidence that suggests foul play," he said.
Contact F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.