Identity sought on body in river

NEWELL – Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher said the body of a white male was found Tuesday afternoon about 10 feet from the Ohio River shoreline near the Wellsville Intermodal Facility.

An employee of Quality Liquid Feeds, which has an office at the Wellsville facility, called 911 at 3:40 p.m. Tuesday after seeing a body in the water, Fletcher said.

Hancock County sheriff’s deputies and Newell volunteer firefighters responded, with firefighters launching a rescue boat to recover the body.

“They recovered the body of a white male wearing blue jeans, a dark Pittsburgh Penguins T-shirt under a hooded sweatshirt and no socks or shoes,” Fletcher said, noting that the man also had surgical scars on both knees.

The identity of the man is not being released pending positive identification by the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

“We believe it’s a possibility it’s someone we might know. I won’t say anything more than that,” Fletcher said.

Before being sent to Charleston, the body was viewed by Hancock County Medical Examiner Dezso Polgar. Identifying the body could take several weeks, depending on the availability of dental records, fingerprint data or other information, Polgar said.

The area where the body was found is about seven miles downriver from the Jennings Randolph Bridge. The recovery was handled by Hancock County because most of the river is in West Virginia.

(Huba can be contacted at