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Bodies pulled from pond are missing trio from Tully, authorities say

Melissa Avery, Maryssa Houston and Jamie Bell/ NYS Police

TULLY, N.Y. (WSTM) - State Police confirm the three bodies that were pulled from a vehicle that was found in the waters of a pond in Tully belong to three people who had been reported missing.

State Police say the three people who were found dead in the vehicle are the three people who were the subject of their missing persons investigation:

  • Jamie A. Bell, age 34
  • Melissa M. Avery, age 26
  • Maryssa F. Houston, age 5

The search for them began when Melissa Avery, 26, was reported missing by her mother. Troopers say all three were supposed to drive from a home on Tully Farms Road to Song Lake in Preble, NY, for a BBQ on June 12 but never arrived.

The vehicle was discovered Tuesday afternoon in the area of Route 80 and Gatehouse Road in Tully. The area was blocked off for hours as police worked the scene.

State Police Capt. Jeffrey Raub said the vehicle was discovered while searching for the missing trio.

Mary Avery - the sister of Jamie Bell, mother of Melissa Avery, and grandmother of Maryssa Houston - says the three were in the car that was found in the pond.

A family member had previously said the bodies pulled from the Gatehouse Pond in Tully on Tuesday were those of the two women and child who were reported missing by State Police.

A witness who last saw the vehicle tells investigators it was driving south on Tully Farms Road through Route 80.

State Police said the vehicle slammed into the lower part of the guardrail that runs parallel to Gatehouse Pond - launching it into the water.

The vehicle did a complete 360 and landed in the water wheels first.

A witness contacted police saying they last saw the vehicle in the area.

State Police sent out extra patrols and one trooper notices the damaged guardrail and then the luggage rack of the vehicle popping out of the water.

It is unclear who was driving the vehicle but it was registered to Jamie Bell's mother.

Autopsy results are not available yet but police presume the three drowned.

Toxicology results will not be available for a few weeks.

A candlelight vigil is planned for 7:00 P.M. on Thursday at Route 80 and Gatehouse Road.

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