Medford, Ore. — As the Josephine County Search and Rescue team announces the suspension of the search for missing woman Tina Behneke, her sister Nicole Burnett is speaking out.
In an interview with NBC5 News, she describes Tina as a an adventurous spirit with a contagious smile.
“She’ll do what she wants to do, you can’t stop her, she’s a wildfire,” Burnett said. “My sister’s always been a rebel, a lot of people know her as the girl who’s so out there and confident.”
This past week, an adventure with friends took a tragic turn; Tina was swept away while trying to cross the Illinois River near Selma on Wednesday.
“I was told she was told not to, and she still continued to do so,” Burnett said. “And the river just took her, just like that, and it’s just so surreal.”
Now Tina’s family is trying to come to terms with what happened.
“She’s just always been my best friend,” Burnett said, tearing up. “Sorry.”
An unbelievable result of a fun outing that Burnett says is normal for the group.
“My dad, he raised us to love nature,” Burnett said. “With that loves comes respect.”
After three days on the water, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team is calling off the search, due to dangerous conditions in the water. As for Tina’s family, they’re not giving up just yet.
“I know my brother is intent on staying on the search, and his group of friends,” Burnett noted.
Without an answer, the family is holding on to hope that they’ll see Tina again. But no matter the outcome, Burnett says her sister will always be with her.
“Her love for life, her love for God, her love for others and everything, just her passion, I want to spread that passion, and let people know that her, her fire will continue burning no matter what happens,” Burnett said.
The Josephine County Search and Rescue team will be keeping a close eye on the conditions. They say when it’s safe, they’ll be back out on the water.