SAPD not ruling out homicide in River Walk body discovery

San Antonio police told KENS 5 they are not ready to rule out the possibility of homicide when it comes to the dead body discovered floating in the city's iconic River Walk on Sunday.

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio police told KENS 5 they are not ready to rule out the possibility of homicide when it comes to the dead body discovered floating in the city's iconic River Walk on Sunday.

It was a shocking discovery for a restaurant employee. He spotted a dead body floating the middle of San Antonio's number one tourist destination. 

This isn't the first discovery of its kind. Since 2015, there have been at least four bodies recovered inside the river.

Crime scene investigators were on scene Sunday morning trying to figure out if the 26-year-old man drowned.

Police aren't ruling out homicide just yet.

"It does appear that the victim was in the water for some time. How long, we can't say for sure," Doug Greene, spokesman for the San Antonio Police Department said.

Just after 9 a.m. Sunday morning, police said a restaurant employee flagged down a river barge after they noticed a body in the water.

"It was just north of the 100 block of E. Commerce," Greene said. "It appears the body may have floated from the north side of the river going south.

The body was found in the deepest area of the San Antonio River known as the "bend cut off". It ranges from 8 feet to 10-feet deep. 

Other parts, closer to Casa Rio, range from 3 to 4-feet deep, according to Nefi Garza, Assistant Director of Transportation and Capital Improvements of the City of San Antonio.

The city manages downtown portions of the river and the San Antonio River Authority oversees the extensions of the River Walk.

"The deepest part would be by the Locks & Dam, which is by Brooklyn Avenue. That's the deepest part of the Museum Reach which is about 7-feet deep," Yvi Serbones of the San Antonio River Authority said.

On the south end of the River, depth levels vary with rainfall. The deepest area there is close to the Davis Lake by Mission Parkway, which averages about 7-feet deep.

"We do have signage that specifies what activities can happen," Serbones said. "By city ordinance, you can not swim in the San Antonio River. So swimming is prohibited, and that is part of the information that is shared along our segments,"

Police said they didn't see any obvious signs of trauma in this case. The cause of death is still under investigation.

"We've seen instances like this," Greene said. "Several causes. Some of it is homicide, some of it has been medical conditions people had and some of it has been people were too intoxicated."

The man's name has yet to be released, but he's been identified as a 26-year-old black male.

For more information on river rules and safety of the extensions of the San Antonio River Walk, including up-to-the-minute flow conditions, click here.
 

© 2017 KENS-TV


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