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Missing woman last seen leaving car at Ft. McAllister found dead

Karla Hillen
Karla Hillen(Bryan County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 5:01 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Bryan County Sheriff’s Office says they believe they’ve found the body of a woman who’s been missing since November 21.

Karla Hillen, 58, was last seen in the area of Fort McAllister Road in Richmond Hill. Her car was found inside Fort McAllister State Park on November 24.

The Sheriff’s Office says an autopsy will officially confirm the woman’s identity.

Officials say her body was found in a wooded area, not far from a group shelter. They say it was found roughly 200 to 250 yards from where her car was found in the park.

No foul play is suspected.

In a statement, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office said, “It is with great sadness that we must report that we found the body of a deceased female during our search today that we believe to be Ms. Hillen. Family has been notified and we hope the community will come together during this difficult time. Please keep the family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”

Several other agencies, including Georgia State Patrol, K9 teams from Beaufort and Richland counties, the Department of Natural Resources and more, helped with the search.

It’s a heartbreaking outcome for many across Bryan County.

“It was kind of a shock. You prepare yourself for what the worst case scenario is going to be but you’re never truly prepared to hear that the person you’ve been trying to find for so long for 16 days now, missing... is reported dead,” said Sue Nelson, Founder of Help Fine Klara Hillen page.

Sue Nelson started a Facebook page to help the community find accurate and updated information while Hillen was missing.

“It grew a lot faster than we thought it would which tells you a little bit about the kind of person that she was.”

About 1,200 people joined and followed along for updates, posted prayers and more about Hillen. She’ll be deeply missed by Nelson and many in this tight knit community.

“It’s bittersweet. You want her to still be here with us and able to counsel the thousands of people here she has counseled and gone through therapy with the years that she’s practiced here. But in the same sense you know, there’s got to be a resolution at some point.”

Nelson added she’s thankful for the Sheriff’s Office bringing in help to find Hillen and sends prayers for her loved ones.

Klara’s husband, Jamie Hillen, told WTOC, “She was a wonderful person, full of life who loved her family dearly, as I hope these pictures show. She loved to dance, sing, travel and spoil her grandchildren. She helped thousands of people in Richmond Hill and the surrounding area as a family counselor. She will be missed.”

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