Body found in Maumee River identified

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The body of a man was spotted floating in the Maumee River early Thursday.

Autopsy results released Tuesday confirm the man’s identity as Paul Clint Ledesma, 34, of Fort Wayne.  His cause and manner of death is pending.

Ledesma’s body was recovered after rescue crews were called around 9 a.m. Thursday to the Tecumseh Street bridge east of downtown Fort Wayne for a possible rescue. Dispatchers told NewsChannel 15 a man was spotted floating in the Maumee River near the bridge.

An officer on the scene said the victim was dead.

Around noon, crews dropped from the bridge and freed the body from a logjam, or “strainer,” along one of the supports of the bridge, according to Fort Wayne Fire Department spokesman Adam O’Connor. He said the body was shirtless and bloated, and had possibly been in the water for “a few weeks.”

The bridge was closed to traffic.

The body was lodged in debris, what officials called a strainer, which caused bigger problems. It clogs the river some and the water around it picks up speed. The water was too fast for divers and even too swift for rafts.

Because of their careful approach, the recovery team took over two hours to get the man out. They lowered a team member down on a rope to tie up the body. They then moved it down stream to where they could take it out of the water safely.

The Fort Wayne Police Department , TRAA and the Indiana DNR all came to support with the recovery.

“You wouldn’t be able to swim against the current,” said corporal Rodney Clear of the DNR. “It’d sweep you down the current. It’s deceiving. These conditions on the water are deceiving. You can look out and see some debris floating across the water and that’s why it’s all going into that strainer right now. That is what makes the situation dangerous. It’s not the bridge. It’s where everything collects.”

“With our special operations teams we had two different teams working together as one and it came together flawlessly as far as the operation went,” Said Fort Wayne Fire Department Assistant Chief Tim Maloney. “We had no injuries and it was a successful outcome.”

Three blocks north, the body of a man who had been fishing the day before was pulled from Lakeside Park pond early Thursday. Officials do not believe the two incidents are related.

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