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Florida woman rescued from storm drain for third time has history of drug use, mental illness

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Composite screenshot of Delray Beach police video and WSBT-TV video

A Florida woman who has been rescued from a storm drain at least three times in as many years has a history of drug abuse and mental illness, family members claim.

Last week, Delray Beach police and fire teams had to rescue Lyndsey Jane Kennedy from a storm drain — again. Around noon on January 18, firefighters received a call about a swimmer who might be in distress in a canal near Lindell Boulevard. When they located the woman, they asked her if she needed help, but she "ignored" them and instead "climbed into a storm drain pipe," the police report said.

Kennedy, who is approximately 45 years old, reportedly refused to cooperate with requests that she climb out of the storm drain on her own, so police eventually confined her to a limited area of the drain pipe, fashioned a harness, and climbed down a ladder to fetch her. When Kennedy resurfaced, she appeared to have minor injuries. She was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution.

That marks at least the third time Kennedy has been rescued from a storm drain in recent years. On March 23, 2021, Delray Beach police received a call from a bystander who claimed she saw a naked woman down in a "sewer" and that she was yelling for help. When first responders arrived, they used a ladder to pull Kennedy from the storm drain. She then told them that she had gone for a swim several weeks prior but had gotten lost. She insisted she had survived in the storm drain system on a single can of ginger ale. Her boyfriend had reported her missing from his home, which was nearly 30 miles away, on March 3, though police expressed some skepticism that she had been in the storm drain the entire time.

"I don’t know how much longer she would have been OK down there," Delray Beach Fire Rescue spokesperson Dani Moschella said at the time.

"It’s dirty, dangerous, there’s snakes, rats, garbage, dirt and leaves, anything that’s on the street that washes into a sewer, and it smells terrible," she added.

At the time, police claimed Kennedy was "coherent" and therefore did not need to be institutionalized involuntarily. They did, however, contact her mother, who claimed that Kennedy has suffered from mental illness and has a history of narcotics abuse.

By May 2021, Kennedy had entered a rehab facility in Grand Prairie, Texas, but had wandered off shortly after checking in. She was spotted swimming in a nearby creek but then ducked into a storm drain to evade police. While teams continued to search for her, friends and family used a tracking app on her phone and repeatedly dropped food and Gatorade down manholes until Kennedy could be located. They found her in a canal four days later.

A Florida deputy indicated in a report that Kennedy had also gone missing in April 2020, though whether she had disappeared while swimming and whether she had been rescued in a storm drain are both unclear.

In 2021, Kennedy was arrested for a hit-and-run accident after she allegedly stole beer from a gas station. Her license was suspended 17 times between 2007 and 2020, the New York Post reported.

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