A body found in the Mississippi River around noon Friday may belong to one of the victims of the April 8 barge accident at the Kinder Morgan's coil dock near Hickman.
A tugboat operator made the call to emergency personnel at noon Friday saying that a body had been seen in the river near mile marker 813, which is about 3 miles north of Barfield.
The body was recovered within a few hours by the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department and the Blytheville Emergency Squad, and has been sent to the Arkansas Crime Lab for final identification, although first responders believe it to be one of the two victims of the barge accident.
Juan Nieves and Nicolas Perez have been missing since the accident, which occurred when a barge overturned while unloading steel coils at the site. Kinder Morgan owns the terminal where the incident occurred, but the company did not own or operate the barge which capsized.
County CID Commander Robb Rounsavall said the body is more than likely one of the victims, since a wallet was found with the body. But since next of kin had not yet been contacted, and a final confirmation had not made via autopsy and a coroner's report, officials could not yet say whether the body found is that of Nieves or Perez.
The final report from a coroner could take anywhere from a few days to a week, Rounsavall said. In the meantime, the second victim's body is still missing.