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Muscogee County coroner working with homeless network to ID body found in river

The identity of a body found in the Chattahoochee River near the TSYS campus and pedestrian bridge is still unknown, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley.

The man’s body was pulled from the river on Wednesday around 9:30 a.m., and Worley pronounced him dead 15 minutes later. Worley said the man appears to be black and middle-aged, but nothing else is currently known about him.

Results from an autopsy conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Thursday afternoon didn’t give anymore information about the man’s identity either, Worley said. The toxicology report and ID are still pending, and results from fingerprinting won’t be available until Tuesday at the latest.

“We’re going through the homeless network to see if we can try to identify him,” Worley told the Ledger-Enquirer on Thursday.

The homeless network isn’t an organized group or database, but rather officials asking around in the homeless community to see if anybody recognizes him. So far, nobody has recognized him in the homeless network and outside of it, Worley said.

“He could be homeless, he could be just somebody that was down there, or he could come from a nice house. He could be anything,” Worley said. “It’s just one of the straws we’re trying to pick out.”

Officials believe the man likely drowned, but they hope anybody with more information will come forward.

Worley said exploring all avenues is pretty standard in any case like this, but it is unusual that nothing has surfaced by now.

“Normally, we’d have something by now. Right now, we have about as much as we had today as we did yesterday,” Worley said.

Last year there were five drownings in Columbus, an increase from the previous two years. On average, there are five drownings in the city every year.

Tandra Smith is the Ledger-Enquirer’s newest reporter. A Georgia Southern University graduate, she’s covered everything from protests to hurricanes and more. Here in Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley, she will focus on breaking and trending news.
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