Search under way for Utah woman missing in Mexico

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WEST VALLEY CITY — A West Valley city woman is missing in Mexico after a scuba diving trip off the coast took a bad turn.

Tamara Lashlee, 43, was on a scuba expedition with her brothers off the coast of Cozumel when she got ahead of the group and hasn't been seen since.

Cozumel police said they and the Mexican Marine Armada - similar to the U.S. Navy - are searching for Lashlee.

Tamara Lashlee's mother, Emma Lashlee, is beyond worried. "All I know is she is lost and they're looking for her," Emma said. "They were with a guided group. There were a lot of people on the boat, I was told."

Emma said Tamara and her two brothers went to Cozumel for vacation and decided to try scuba diving. She said there was a large group on the dive with a number of guides, but that as the group surfaced, they lost sight of Tamara.

They said they were going up to the surface and she was a little ahead. Then I guess she got out of sight or something.

–Emma Lashlee

"They said they were going up to the surface and she was a little ahead and then I guess she got out of sight or something. Then they went up after her and they never did find her," Emma said.

Emma said her daughter is adventurous and had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. She feels so far away, but is trying to stay positive for Tamara's kids.

"I was hoping that they would have found her on the land somewhere. But all this looking, they surely would have found her," she said.

Dave Mohowski with Dive Utah said the Palancar Wall area, where Tamara was last seen, is known for its drift driving.

"You hit water as a group rather than go against the current," he explained. "You go with the flow, and a boat picks you up downstream."

While it's not uncommon to have problems with gear, Mohowski said it is unusual to separate from the group and not have a buddy.

"Drift diving — it's fun, it can be safe, but you do need to pay attention and know where you are and where you are in relationship to the group," he said.

Cozumel police said the Mexican Marine Armada is heading up the search for Tamara.

Meanwhile, her mother also said she hasn't been able to make contact with her sons who are still in Mexico.


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