UPDATED: Isabella County woman found dead at Deerfield Nature Park; taught psychology at CMU

A Deerfield Township woman died Tuesday after she was found on the ice of the Chippewa River at Deerfield Nature Park.

Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said Sonya Marie Sheffert, 43, was found by her husband, Larry Sheffert, in the park off of Winn Road.

Sonya Sheffert

Mioduszewski said Sheffert had been in the river prior to being found on the ice.

“It doesn’t look like anything suspicious,” Mioduszewski said. “There was only one set of footprints, so it wasn’t homicide.”

Sheffert taught psychology at Central Michigan University and Alma College, according to both insitutions’ websites.

Mioduszewski said Sonya Sheffert left her home on Hilltop Road sometime between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.

He said their children recognized the vehicle while their father drove them to school and suspected it was hers. Larry Sheffert inspected the vehicle later after he dropped off them off and realized it was hers.

Larry Sheffert followed the lone footprints and discovered his wife on the ice of the Chippewa River. He attempted to warm her while waiting for paramedics to arrive, Mioduszewski said.

The sheriff’s department received a call shortly after 8 a.m. Deputies arrived on scene about 8:30 a.m.

First responders administered CPR at the scene and Sheffert was taken to Central Michigan Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead later in the morning.

Mioduszewski said an autopsy was being conducted Tuesday. A cause of death had not been determined.


  1. It is strange that the police think this is NOT suspicious. Who gets out of a car in total darkness, walks into the woods & falls in a river on a snowy morning? Some investigating is recommended.

  2. They have declared it a suicide. She taught at the school I am currently attending. It is very tragic and has hit the students and faculty alike very hard.

    • I had one of Dr. Sheffert’s classes over 10 years ago. She was so nice and always seemed very happy. This is so sad – I can’t believe she would have committed suicide!

  3. Seems very strange to me, a thorough investigation should be accomplished before anyone or anything is assumed. My son went to college with this lady, eventhough some years have passed, just seems very uncharacteristic to our family.

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