Human remains found near river

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Three people taking a break from fishing late Sunday afternoon on the Mississippi River made a shocking discovery along the bank in rural far western Monroe County.  

The Columbia and Valmeyer fire departments joined the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in retrieving human remains found in that area.

A Missouri man, his wife and a friend stopped after fishing on the river to look for driftwood in a log jam on the bank at about 5 p.m. on the Illinois side north of Kimmswick, Mo. As they walked to the back of the driftwood pile, they discovered a decomposed body of only clothes and bones. They immediately called 911.

Columbia and Valmeyer firefighters utilized UTVs and small boats west of the levee near Merrimac in attempts to reach the body.

At about 5:35 p.m. Sunday, fire officials said they had a visual of the remains but were still trying to determine how to retrieve the body from the river bank. 

The Rock Community Fire Department in Jefferson County, Mo., also launched a boat to assist in the incident.

The MCSD requested an Illinois State Police crime scene unit to assist in an investigation. A representative from the Monroe County coroner’s office also responded to the scene.

Responders finally cleared the scene at about 10:15 p.m., but multiple local fire departments assisted the MCSD in returning to the area late Monday morning for an undisclosed “special assignment” related to the incident.

Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill said his office responded to the bank of the river in the area of Levee and Merrimac roads.  

“The remains were located in thick brush on the bank of the river,” Hill stated in a news release, adding the human remains were “mainly skeletonized.”

Hill said he is unable to speculate on the sex, race or age of the deceased.

“The remains will be examined Thursday by a forensic anthropologist to help in determining the approximate age, sex and race,” Hill said. “Once I have more identifiers, I will release that information.”

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