LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- We now know the identity of the woman who died after falling into a hole outside her Valley Station home late Tuesday evening.
The coroner has identified the victim as 73-year-old Dorothy Brown.
Brown was reported missing from her home along Sun Valley Drive just around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Family members say Brown, who was suffering from Parkinson's disease, was in the back yard walking her dog when the ground collapsed and she fell to her death. The victim's son, Mark Brown said, " We couldn't have dreamed of something like this... It's like a nightmare."
The hole is at least 20 feet deep and three feet wide. It's hard to even see the bottom. At first, firefighters thought it was a sinkhole, but family members knew otherwise: it was a dry well from an old septic system.
"It was discovered by a young grandson when he arrived home that she was not in the house," said PRP Asst. Fire Chief Luke Goodin.
Police were called and discovered Brown's body in three feet of water. A Louisville Fire & Rescue trench rescue team worked overnight to recover Brown's body.
Mark Brown said his mother suffered broken ribs, a cracked skull, and likely drowned.
"She was a good woman, she was nice and sweet to her kids and grandkids," said Bill Simpson who has lived across the street from the Brown family for 30 years. "It's just a shame that happened to her -- that shocked me."
A mandate forced the entire neighborhood to switch from septic to sewer lines more than decade ago; however, homeowners had to hire their own contractors.
The fear is that many of the wells may not not have been properly filled.
"Nobody mentioned you had to have that done," Simpson said.
Brown's passing has become a startling warning for her neighborhood to look in their own backyard.
"Something like that to cave in and you're not expecting it ... that could kill quite a few people," Simpson said.
Brown is survived by five children and six grandchildren.
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