- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A tearful Central Texas sheriff told mourners Wednesday how hard it was to tell the family of Senior Deputy Jessica Hollis that searchers hadn’t managed to find her or her body on the day her patrol car was swept away in a flood.

Speaking at Hollis’ funeral, which drew peace officers from across Texas and beyond, Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton described the despair on the searchers’ faces when they came up empty-handed last Thursday.

“One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was going to the house that first night and say that we didn’t find Jessica,” Hamilton said.

They found Hollis’ body the next day in Lake Austin.

The seven-year veteran of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office was swept away in her car early Thursday while on patrol. She was checking low-water road crossings during thunderstorms that dumped up to 7 inches of rain in the Austin area. She managed to radio for help, but could not be found when searchers discovered her car submerged.

Hamilton and sheriff’s Sgt. John Loughran said during funeral services at Hill Country Bible Church in Austin that Hollis, 35, brought a “swagger” to her work that endeared her to colleagues.

Hollis is survived by her husband and 12-year-old son.

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