Woman Found Dead at Tennessee Theme Park

A woman apparently jumped to her death from a chairlift Thursday at a popular theme park in Tennessee, officials said.

Jessica Rhea Ford, 40, of La Vergne, was found dead under a chair lift at Anakeesta park in Gatlinburg about 7:45 p.m., according to a Friday statement from the city. The park is about 40 miles southeast of Knoxville.

Ford’s “possible cause of death” was determined to be an “apparent suicide,” the statement said.

“Multiple witness statements … corroborated that the individual jumped from the chairlift,” the statement said.

City officials had previously said in an earlier statement the “Fire & Rescue Department found a female under the chairlift who was deceased. The Sevier County Medical Examiners office also responded to the scene and pronounced the victim dead.”

Ford’s relatives could not be immediately reached for comment Friday afternoon.

The county medical examiner’s office also could not be reached.

The Gatlinburg Police Department’s investigation into Ford’s death remains ongoing, officials said.

Anakeesta provides “outdoor adventure for the whole family,” according to its Facebook page.

The park offers views of the Great Smoky Mountains and features ziplines and a mountain rail coaster, the Facebook page said.

A representative for Anakeesta could not be immediately reached for comment.

“A tragic incident occurred [Thursday] evening,” park officials said in a statement, NBC affiliate WBIR of Knoxville reported. “911 was called immediately. Our hearts are with the family of the deceased.”

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