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A Unified police officer responding on a welfare check call accidentally ran over a woman lying in the middle of a parking lot late Tuesday, according to police.

MILLCREEK — A Unified police officer responding on a welfare check call accidentally ran over a woman lying in the middle of a parking lot late Tuesday, according to police.

The incident happened about 10:50 p.m., said Unified police detective Ken Hansen. An officer, who is new to the department, was called to check on a woman who was reportedly in a strip mall area near 3304 S. 2300 East.

The officer drove into the parking lot, but did not see the woman, who police say was wearing dark clothing and lying in the middle of the lot.

Hansen said it was not known Wednesday if the woman died from being hit by the car or if she was already dead or injured prior to the officer arriving. An autopsy by the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office will attempt to determine the cause of death, Hansen said.

The woman's name was not immediately released pending notification of family members. Investigators believe she is a 25-year-old from Georgia, Hansen said.

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There had been reports of her sleeping in her car in various parking lots in the area over the past week, he said. Her car was not in the parking lot Tuesday, however. As of Wednesday morning, police were still looking for her car. The woman had a backpack with her.

The incident has been "extremely difficult" for the officer who hit the woman, he said. The officer has been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation by Salt Lake police. The officer's name was not released Wednesday.

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.