Potomac River

‘The Other Half of Me': Husband Mourns Wife Found Dead in Potomac River

Barbara Bushkin and her husband had recently published a book about their love story

A 72-year-old Virginia woman who was found dead in the Potomac River was a philanthropist who had recently published a book with her husband about their love story.

Barbara Bushkin was found dead Monday inside her SUV that had submerged in the river near Roosevelt Island in D.C.

"She was the other half of me. She was the better me," Bushkin's husband, Arthur Bushkin, said.

Arthur Bushkin said he and his wife dated during high school. They went their separate ways and lost touch for 45 years before finding each other again.

They wrote a book about their journey titled "Lifelong Valentines" that was published earlier this year.

"She was a good person. She made people happy," Arthur Bushkin said.

He says Barbara was coming home from a charity event the night she died.

"When we were dating in high school ... and we agreed we'd do an act of kindness every day. And we did it," Arthur Bushkin said.

Crews had searched for the vehicle and its driver Sunday night and throughout Monday after receiving a 911 call reporting an SUV had crashed into the river.

D.C. Fire & EMS said they found tire tracks leading into the river and divers were able to locate the SUV by 6 p.m. Monday.

Crews continued their effort to pull a submerged SUV with a body inside out of the Potomac River. Jackie Bensen reports.


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Also on Monday afternoon, Fairfax County Police had shared a missing persons report on Bushkin, saying she had been last seen about 7:50 p.m. Sunday in the District and had been driving a 2016 black Lexus RX with Virginia tags. Police said Bushkin was endangered "due to mental and/or physical issues."

The witness who called 911 said the SUV entered the water around 9:20 p.m. that night.

Police identified the victim inside the SUV as Bushkin on Monday shortly before midnight, saying Bushkin died of injuries sustained in the crash into the river.

Crews pulled the SUV out of the water. One of its doors showed signs of damage.

"We don't know what the circumstances are here, how the car came to get into the water," Maggiolo said Sunday night. "But that's going to be part of a law enforcement investigation."

"There was probably some medical event. I hope she didn’t suffer too badly," Arthur Bushkin said.

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