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Search teams recover second Suwannee River body


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The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office discovered a second body on the Suwannee River in its investigation into two missing men.

Investigations Commander Lt. Jeff Manning said the sheriff’s office, along with Fanning Springs Fire Department and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, discovered the body around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Two men, AJ Melendez, 38, and Haemant Mathooran, 19, were reported missing on March 11 after they attempted to rescue an 8-year-old boy who fell into the river.

Manning said the team had been searching for the bodies last week before stopping late Sunday to conduct further research and gather resources.

Officials discovered the first of the two bodies Monday afternoon and began searching for the second.

“That gave us kind of a starting point of where we could concentrate our search,” Manning said. “Through those conditions, it led to the discovery of the second body.”

The second body was found in a field of debris a quarter mile from where the two missing men had entered the river.

“We had a feeling that if the one body was there, there was a strong possibility we could find the second body in or near the same location,” Manning said.

Carolyn Brewster reported for WUFT-TV.

About Mike Llerena

Mike is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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