AUGUSTA — Augusta police have identified the woman who sank in an area of open water amid the frozen Kennebec River early Saturday afternoon as Kelly Voytasko, 54, of Augusta.

Jared Mills, deputy chief of the Augusta Police Department, said the woman’s family reported her missing shortly after she went into the water.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances, there is a high probability that she is the person we are looking for,” Mills said in a press release issued just after 3 p.m Monday. “Kelly is an active missing person at this point.”

Mills said recovery efforts have been suspended until conditions improve on the river. Dangerous conditions on the mostly ice-covered river forced a suspension of the search.

Two women who watched the events from the nearby Kennebec Plaza apartments said it appeared the woman was talking on a cellphone. They said she put the cellphone on the ice and then stepped or jumped into the open water, clinging briefly to the ice.

They watched as police threw a roped buoy to her, but they said it looked as though she pushed it away. Police recovered an item the woman left on the ice, but it was not a cellphone and did not help to identify her, Mills said. Mills did not specify what the recovered item was.

Police, firefighters, the Maine Marine Patrol and wardens from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife responded to help search for the woman, but their efforts were in vain.

Authorities had asked the public’s help in identifying the woman, who was described as being in her 50s with reddish-brown hair and wearing black clothing.

Mills said anyone with information should contact Officer Paul Doody at 626-2370.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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