Cuyahoga Valley Park

Hillary K Sharma - Strange deaths in U.S. national Parks

Hillary K Sharma, disappeared August 19, 2014, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Hillary K sharma death

Hillary Sharma was last seen on Tuesday, August 19, 2014, and she told friends that she was heading to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The 32,572 acre, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, covers the area along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio. It is the only national park in Ohio. 

Cuyahoga River Ohio

Hillary, a 30-year-old is a resident of Eastlake, Ohio was an artist and photographer and often enjoyed visiting the National Park to take shots. She had recently completed a photography course at Lakeland Community College and was enrolled in a graphic arts class. She was a graphic artist at Steve's Sports in Bedford Heights.

Hillary Sharma photo

Her friends became concerned about her safety when she failed to return and Search and Rescue workers found her blue Toyota Camry parked near the Boston Store Visitor Center in Peninsula two days later.

The ground search of the area started on Friday, August 22 with search dogs, horse patrol, boats on the Cuyahoga River, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. They were particularly focusing on the Cuyahoga River between the Village of Boston and Station Road in Brecksville, and found some of her belongings, including a camera case.

Cuyahoga National Park trail

Then there was bad news on Thursday 28th August, a body was discovered floating in the river with a rope attached to the neck. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner positively identified the body found as Hillary Sharma.  The body was found in the Cuyahoga River, 15610 Vaughn Road in Brecksville by the Highland Road bridge around 6 p.m.after two Rangers came across it during their daily search for her.

A roommate told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that Sharma was overcoming some personal problems and trying to get her life back on track when she disappeared. Nick Baur, who said he lived with Sharma in a single story house on a quiet street in Eastlake, declined to elaborate on the nature of the problems during an interview at his doorstep. "We all deal with our own things," Baur said. "She's had some tough relationships. She's gone through a lot. She was getting back on her feet. I don't know if she went [to the park] to clear or head, or what. She does her own thing. How well do you know a person?"

Baur said he has no idea what has happened to her. But he says he knows Sharma would never do anything to harm herself.

But, an autopsy was performed and the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death a suicide by hanging. Investigators did not report any evidence of foul play.

However, on a YouTube video on Sharma's death, there is a reference to a camera found containing pictures in which it appeared that she was running from something or someone. But, there does not appear to be any media substantiation of this claim.

This could be a simple case of suicide by a troubled woman, but her friend said she would not harm herself. It appears she strung herself up on a branch or someone else did and the branch broke and she ended up in the Cuyahoga River. Police quickly dismissed foul play, but who knows. There are strange elements to the story.