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Investigation continues after fatal fall at state park

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Posted at 10:58 AM, Sep 20, 2021

BELLEVUE, Iowa (AP) — An investigation continues after someone fell to their death from a bluff in an Iowa state park.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said in a news release that authorities were notified at 4:21 a.m. Saturday that someone had fallen at Bellevue State Park. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The name of the victim and further details about the incident have not been released. The park remains open to visitors. The park sits on bluffs along the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Natural resources provided an update, including the victim's identity:

Authorities have identified 36-year-old Iris Merfeld, of Zwingle, as the woman involved in the fatal fall at Bellevue State Park this weekend. According to authorities, Merfeld had been visiting an overlook known as Pulpit Rock in Bellevue State Park in the early morning hours of Sept. 18, when she fell an estimated 150 feet from the bluffs to the rocks below. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities believe alcohol may have played a role in the incident. No foul play is believed to be involved.

The Jackson County Sheriff, Bellevue Police Department, Bellevue Fire Department and Maquoketa Police Department assisted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources with the incident.

Bellevue State Park remains open for visitors.

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