Beloved animal advocate has died

Body of beloved animal-advocate found in river

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The body of a beloved animal-advocate was recovered from the sandbar in the Flat Rock River in Columbus, Indiana, on Saturday morning. Though foul-play was initially feared, authorities now believe that 33-year-old Jacqueline (Kleine) Watts was not murdered, reported the Indy Channel.

On Friday, Watts had dropped her pets off with family members and she was supposed to meet up with her husband to head out for a trip to Washington D.C., but she never made it to her scheduled meeting place. After she was reported missing by family, Watts’ car was found, still running, with a door open, in a wooded area. Her body was found on Saturday about a half-mile away from the abandoned vehicle.

After word was released about the tragedy, Indy Rescue reached out via Facebook to update its followers about the woman who had died:

Jackie Watts had been with our rescue for 5 years, I believe, and was a member of our Board of Directors. She was so excited when we finally decided to go 501c3 last year and was the first one to respond “I can be there!” last week in a group text to check out a venue for our first big fundraiser.

The rescue agency touched on Watts’ compassionate nature:

Jackie was always taking home the really sick bunnies that she could nurture back to health, and if that wasn’t possible, she would many times keep them to their end. Even adopting a pair post mortem that she so dearly loved and nursed until they died. Just yesterday, Jackie was sitting on the floor of the Bunny Barn trying to help me give fluids to a long time bunny we believe to have cancer.

The rescue summed up with words of love for the friend and advocate who was lost:

We will always love you and will never forget you Jackie…. never.

The investigation into the circumstances surrounding Watts’ death continues.

(Indy Rescue FB Photo)




23 replies
  1. pennysdachshund says:

    This appears to be a strange event! Why would she leave the car running and the door open.. I wonder if she may have spotted an injured animal she went to help and had an unavoidable accident? Regardless this is a loss to the animal world….

      • pennysdachshund says:

        I read this morning on a news site that a witness said they saw a woman answering her description chasing a dog , prior to the death and that the dog was found dead on the bank a little further away from her body.. So sad ,,, I have stopped my vehicle several times to save a dog from getting run and almost got run over myself .. Would I do it again… Hell Yes!!!

  2. Barkley's Mom says:

    How very sad, the world doesn’t have enough wonderful people like this and to lose one is just heartbreaking. Rest in peace Jacqueline Watts I know you were met at the Rainbow Bridge by all your precious animals you had helped.

  3. Darla says:

    I wonder if she saw an animal and was trying to rescue it. Otherwise, a car engine running and an open door sounds a lot suspicious to me. RIP Jackie.

  4. Linda Szymoniak says:

    That her car was found, running, with the door open makes me wonder if she saw an animal in need and put its safety first. I didn’t know her personally, but by reputation. Such a sad loss for animals in need. Prayers for her family.

  5. Debbie Dearmore says:

    I would do the same thing. I couldn’t handle working at a shelter. . to see so many babies being murdered would kill me

  6. Nancy Raymond says:

    What a giant loss – her dedication and contribution to animal rescue was amazing – she will be greatly missed. My condolences to her family.

  7. Donna says:

    I have worked in many shelters n many directers n assistance kill themselfs.The last shelter I worked in the directer hung himself n yr later assistant n new directer hung themselfs.If u cant n have a hard time w eutho you wont make it.To me they r going w God n they r safe n never have to worry about abandment n abuse again so death for the animals to me revolves around my faith n God n thats what keeps me from not cracking up!

  8. Mag says:

    Im sure she got out to try and get the dog in her car by leaving the door open. I have jumped out a few times with car running and signals on trying to catch a dog. Sounds like dog ran and she followed. Such a hero for animals.

  9. Lin Kristian says:

    Although I didn’t know Jackie personally I mourn for her passing. The world doesn’t have enough wonderful people in it and Jackie was certainly one of those wonderful people. My condolences to her family, friends and animal advocate family.
    I know that you were met at the Rainbow Bridge by the animals you loved and who loved you. Sending love, light, positive thoughts, positive energy and positive prayers to your family at this very difficult time????????????????????????

  10. Kathleen Drude says:

    I have been in her shoes! It’s an impossible task when we are called upon to save innocent lives! Animals are the only true innocent lives on this planet! Too many times we see the end results of their run ins with man! The pictures can be devastating!


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