Body search

Local authorities work on Sunday morning on the Missouri River to recover a man’s body found along the river near south Atchison, Kansas.

ATCHISON, Kansas — Police are having difficulty identifying the body of a man pulled on Sunday morning from the Missouri River in an area not far from south Atchison, Kansas.

Atchison Police Chief Mike Wilson said in an update to regional media that he believes the body likely floated downriver from a location north of Atchison, perhaps a significant distance.

However, authorities can’t rule out that the man entered the water near Atchison, Wilson said. A Kansas City-area pathologist is studying the cause and circumstances of the death, Wilson said.

“We’ve put out a broadcast with several agencies up north and we’ve already had a communication by phone with some of the agencies just north of here,” Wilson said. “What we do know now is we have a white male adult.

“That helps us try to identify in the sense of who could’ve had a missing person, who might possibly have had a boating accident, there’s just all kinds of potential factors that could’ve occurred.”

Wilson said authorities believe that tattoos and other descriptors on the body, which he anticipates releasing information on in the near future for assistance in discovering its identity, will likely prove crucial toward solving the immediate mystery.

Wilson said authorities responded at 11:29 a.m. after a jogger reported the body floating down the river near the northern Atchison city limits along a trail near River Road. Authorities reached the scene immediately, Wilson said, and then followed the body as it floated downriver before recovering it with assistance from local first responder boat crews, including the Atchison Fire Department.

Wilson said the process of recovering the body, despite the elevated waters of the Missouri and swifter than usual currents, went off without any difficulties.

“We know that it didn’t end up in the river today,” Wilson said. “It’s been in there longer than that. There’s obviously a number of factors ... We know from past cases that a body will often end up below surface for a period of time before it will surface and allow people to see it ... The examination does indicate that it’s been in the water more than a day.”

Marcus Clem can be reached via marcus.clem@atchisonglobenow.com and @AdAstraGorilla on Twitter. James Howey can be reached via james.howey@atchisonglobenow.com and @How_eyseeit on Twitter.