Body recovered from the Chattahoochee River near pedestrian bridge

Body recovered from the Chattahoochee River near pedestrian bridge

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A body was recovered from the Chattahoochee River Wednesday morning.

Chief Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley confirmed first responders began the recovery after 9 a.m. The body was recovered near the pedestrian bridge and TSYS.

Officials have not determined the identity of the victim but do say the victim is an African American male in his mid-to-late 30′s.

According to Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan, the body will be sent to Decatur for autopsy and for identification.

One woman, Juddie Smalls, who witnessed the body being recovered from the water, said this latest drowning is heartbreaking but another reason people should be careful around the Chattahoochee.

“It makes me feel sad,” she said. “There’s water all in Florida. You can’t say, ‘Oh, the river is mean.’ It all comes to how we treat the water.”

Officials said this is not being investigated as a homicide.

Bryan is asking for the public’s help in identifying the victim because he had no identification and his fingerprints did not match anything in the database.

“The general public should know that, so if they are missing a friend or relative, they should come forward and call the coroner’s office, so we can at least try and find the next of kin,” Bryan said.

According to Bryan, they will check with the Homeless Network to see if anyone is missing but will have to heavily rely on someone coming forward to determine the identity.

This is the 4th drowning in the Chattahoochee in 2019, which according to Bryan, is around average.

Bryan said with drownings, though, it can be difficult to know the exact circumstances of what caused it unless there are witnesses.

“It’s complete guesswork unless there are witnesses,” he said. “We have no earthly idea if they fell in, jumped in, or what the circumstances are. Unless it’s a witnessed drowning, we send them all up to Decatur for an autopsy.”

Stay with News Leader 9 on air and online as we work to gather more details.

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