Officials have confirmed that a body has been found in the back channel of the Ohio River.
Public Information Officer for the Wheeling FD Philip Stahl said that officials located the body believed to be Jerry Dowd, Jr. at approximately 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Dowd’s sister tells 7News this is a very bitter sweet moment for their family, but they’re relieved they finally have some closure after nearly 18 hours of searching. Officials say the body was found in the back channel of the Ohio River around the same location they were told he fell off.
“We’re happy he was found, but we’re sad that he’s not with us anymore,” said sister Robin Nash. “He is in a better place, I believe that.”
The body believed to be 32 year-old Jerry Dowd was taken to a local hospital where it will be sent to the medical examiners office in either Morgantown or Charleston for positive identification.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Nash said. “Making funeral arrangements and such, just dealing with this situation here.”
Stahl said until they are certain it’s Dowd’s body this will remain a missing person’s case. The investigation into Dowd falling off the boat will continue, and the family wants answers.
“I want to know what happened. My brother couldn’t swim,” Dowd’s brother Charles Wallace told 7News reporter Nick Conigliaro. “So, I don’t believe that he would be walking around on the boat; he couldn’t swim, it was midnight. I just want to know the truth, that’s all we want to know is the truth.”
Wallace and his sister Robin Nash are very thankful to all the search and rescue crews from Wheeling and Ohio that helped look for their brother. The family is also very gracious to the community for giving them support during such a difficult time.
“My brother, her brother loved all people, do you hear me, all people. He was a good man, he loved all people didn’t matter the race. You seen that from all the people that brought food; they didn’t care about race, it was life.”
At this time, police are still unsure if any drugs or alcohol were involved in this incident, but the family says they know Dowd is in a better place.
Stahl says they’ve conducted many interviews with the people that were on the boat with Dowd, but they still have to take more steps in the next few days to complete a “thorough report.”