First responders recovered a body Saturday night from the Arkansas River.
The deceased person, an unidentified white man who appears to be around 20, was recovered around 10 p.m. in the section of the river alongside the P Street Wastewater Treatment Plant by personnel with the Fort Smith fire and police departments. Detectives with the Police Department are currently trying to determine why the deceased person was in the water, and the Sebastian County coroner is working to identify the man, Sgt. Wendall Sampson with the Police Department said.
"It didn’t appear he was forced into the water or anything like that at this time," Sampson said.
Witnesses walking on the trail through Riverfront Park earlier Saturday initially notified police about the incident, Sampson said. He said first responders found the deceased man and a woman in the river.
First responders found the deceased man's clothes folded neatly on the river bank, Sampson said.
"I think he went in willingly," Sampson said. "What happened after that, we just don’t know at this time.”
The woman was recovered from the river and was taken to the Police Department to speak to detectives about the incident, Sampson said. He said she may have charges unrelated to the incident and will release such information to the public if any is found.
Members of Troop C with the Fire Department recovered the deceased man from the river in their boat. They were assisted by the Fort Smith Police Department on the river bank, Sampson said.
Sampson said first responders are fortunate to have recovered the body considering storms are expected to move in Sunday morning.
"If we hadn’t made this recovery tonight, it would have been a much harder job tomorrow," he said.
Sampson said he will release more information to the public as the investigation progresses.