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Autopsy completed on body of man found in Missouri River

An autopsy has been completed on a body that was found at the Noren River Access in North Jefferson City Tuesday.

The body has been identified as a black man who may have lived in Kansas City area. Missouri State Highway Patrol is working to notify the man’s next of kin.

Kevin Hunter with the MSHP Drug & Crime Division told ABC 17 News it’s unknown how long the man was in the water, and he was not wearing a life jacket at the time he was found.

Hunter said Highway Patrol is in touch with a woman in the Kansas City area who may be the man’s sister based off leads troopers are investigating. DNA is expected to be collected and tested to help possibly identify the man with the help of the Kansas City Police Drug & Crime Unit.

The cause of death is still unknown at this point, according to Hunter.

Monday night, a search began in Boone County after a 911 caller on the Katy Trail said they saw a body floating near the Missouri River Bridge at I-70.

Medical examiners were at the scene Tuesday evening, and investigators said the body was in an advanced state of decomposition.

The MSHP Division of Drug and Crime Control is leading the investigation.

Jefferson City Fire Division Chief Jason Turner told ABC 17 News a bystander reported they saw the body and called 911.

Turner said members of the Jefferson City Fire Department retrieved the man’s body from the river upstream from the Missouri River bridge over Highway 54.

The distance from where the body was sighted near Rocheport to Jefferson City is about 43 miles.

The Boone County Fire Protection District and the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Water Division searched early Tuesday afternoon.

Boone County Fire Battalion Chief Chuck Leake said dispatchers received a call around 8:15 Monday evening from someone on the Katy Trail, near the Missouri River Bridge on I-70, who said they saw what appeared to be a lifeless body floating down the river. The call first went to Cooper County’s emergency operations center, but dispatchers contacted Boone County authorities for the search.

One boat was in the river Tuesday morning. It got into the water near Rocheport and then headed south toward Lupus.

The Boone County Fire Protection District used two boats Monday night to search for the body, with one starting in Rocheport and the other south of it in Huntsdale.

The Highway Patrol’s Water Division put a boat on the river in Marion, located in southern Cole County, to assist in the search.

Just before 10:45 Monday night, both departments suspended the search due to storms moving into the area, coupled with poor conditions on the Missouri River.

“The water’s moving very quickly, there’s a lot of debris in it, we are just below flood stage,” Leake said.”In broad daylight, it’s a difficult and dangerous situation. But when you make it this dark, and moving that fast with that much debris, and now add the storm coming in on us, that’s just that much more danger that I wasn’t willing to put our personnel in harm’s way.”

The search boats were pulled out of the water in Rocheport, at the Moniteau Creek.

This is a developing story. Stay with ABC 17 News and for updates as they become available.

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