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Crime Scene
Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 11/08/2012

Cheryl Ann Alston of Fairfax identified in accidental death at Va. boat dock

The body of a Fairfax woman who fell into the Potomac River from her boat dock was identified Thursday.

Cheryl Ann Alston, 66, was found in Belmont Bay, a short distance from where she docks her boat at Occoquan Harbor Marina in Prince William County, police said.

Police said they believe she accidentally fell into the water, and no foul play is suspected. Her body was recovered by dive teams Wednesday after police could not find her the day before.

Family members had reported her missing on Monday.

Alston was last seen by the boat Saturday around 7 p.m. A marina manager declined comment Thursday. Family members could not be immediately reached.

Alston ran a business called Family Management Services that has offices in Bethesda and Fairfax and helped families deal with issues that arise when a loved one dies. The company also helps provide in-home care or find other arrangements for elderly people who need assisted living.

Kat Hebert, an accountant at Family Management Services, said in a telephone interview that the company, which has four office staffers and around 20 aids in the field, is in the process of being shut down. She called Alston a “dynamo” who “lit up a room” and and enjoyed entertaining on her boat.

Hebertsaid staff members began to worry when they didn’t hear from Alston early Monday – Alston religiously called in at 8:35 a.m. to check in. Hebert said that after her car didn’t turn up at her condo in Fairfax, she went to the marina in Occoquan.

Hebert said she found Alston’s purse on the boat.

“It’s as if she leaned over, put her purse on the boat, and was going to unlatch it … and [the boat] probably pushed away from the dock and she lost her footing and fell,” Hebert said.

Alston’s daughter, Jennifer Desimone, has been “numb,” Hebert said. “She was so scared they weren’t going to find her mom,” she said. “We were hoping for the best and that wasn’t the case.”

This item has been updated.

By  |  12:59 PM ET, 11/08/2012

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