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Body of missing man found in Potomac River

May 18, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • The body of a man who disappeared in the Potomac River Saturday was found near these rocks Tuesday within sight of White Horse rapids where he was last seen.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

SANDY HOOK -- The body of a Gaithersburg, Md., man who disappeared Saturday in the Potomac River was found Tuesday about 200 yards downstream from Lock 32, where he and his brother had gone into the water to reach a better fishing spot, according to Maryland Natural Resources Police spokesman Sgt. Brian Albert.

The body of Daniel Figueroa, 37, was found in the river after someone among his family and friends who was looking along the river's shoreline spotted something orange at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, Albert said.

Figueroa was wearing an orange shirt when he disappeared at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Albert said.

It appeared that Figueroa's body started floating toward the surface about 100 yards from the Maryland shore and got snagged on rocks just below the surface, Albert said.

A Maryland Natural Resources Police official had been where the body was found at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday but did not see anything, Albert said.

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Maryland Natural Resources Police officials, with the help of members of the Potomac Valley Fire Co., pulled the body from the river, Albert said.

Figueroa's body was taken to Weverton, where one of his brothers made an identification, Albert said. From there, the body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy, Albert said.

It will take about two to three weeks before the autopsy is completed, Albert said.

The discovery of the body ended a search that had been under way since Saturday and involved a helicopter, kayaks and officials scanning the river from high points in the area around Lock 32, which is just above the U.S. 340 bridge.

Earlier Tuesday, officials searched the river from the shoreline and two people in kayaks searched on the river, Albert said.

It is believed that Figueroa drowned at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday when he and his brother, Marlon A. Melgar, 32, of Germantown, Md., attempted to wade through the river to a better fishing spot near Lock 32 along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Albert said.

When the water became deeper, Figueroa and Melgar started swimming toward the fishing spot, Albert said.

The current carried Figueroa and Melgar into Class III rapids known as White Horse rapids, and while Melgar was able to crawl onto a rock, Figueroa disappeared into the rapids, according to a news release from Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Melgar managed to swim back to shore after Figueroa disappeared, Albert said.

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