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Police ID body of man who was swept away in Roanoke River

February 25, 2021 GMT

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Police in Virginia say that a body found in the Roanoke River belonged to a man who was seen swept away by high water late last year.

The Roanoke Times reported Wednesday that Dolph Edward Dellinger, 60, had been missing since Dec. 5.

A witness had called 911 and said he had been knocked off his feet and carried away while trying to cross a low-lying bridge under U.S. 220 in Roanoke. The river’s fast-moving waters were spilling over the bridge following two days of heavy rains.

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Rescue crews searched for Dellinger for days and used swift-water teams, rescue dogs and drones.

Dellinger’s body was ultimately found about six miles downstream on Jan. 26 near Niagara Dam in Roanoke County.

Roanoke County police said he was the person that crews had been searching for. The medical examiner’s office determined it to be an accidental drowning.

Authorities said they were unsuccessful in finding a next of kin. Dellinger had been homeless and was recognizable to many in the area.

Dawn Sandoval, of The Least of These Ministry, said he “was a very friendly guy.”