Benton Harbor, Mich. The body of 34-year-old Dewayne Flowers was found by amateur divers in the St. Joseph River Saturday. Police say he pleaded guilty to assault in 2009 and had stopped reporting to his parole officer on November 9, 2013.
The body was first found by the MUD Diving Club around noon in Benton Harbor.
The discovery was made in the 400 block of Riverview Drive, about one mile southwest of Harbor Shores Golf Club, at Fisherman's Park.
One of the divers called for another diver to come take a look at what they believed was a body. Using a GoPro Camera, the divers videotaped what they saw, and handed the video over to authorities.
The Berrien County Sheriff's Department dive team used a gurney to pull Flowers out of the water.
An investigation at the county morgue revealed the identity of Flowers. Police say there were no apparent signs of injury, but they are still investigating.
"With the temperature of the water it could have been weeks," said Deputy Director Dan McGinnis of Benton Harbor Police Services. "Because the water is cooler, it doesnt decompose as fast. It's actually in pretty decent shape so it's hard to tell how long it's been. That's for a medical examiner to answer."
His family says they last saw him on November 10, 2013.
Flowers was never reported missing, but the Michigan Department of Corrections lists him as a parole absconder.
The amateur divers tell our reporter on the scene they have found things like cars, safes and weapons before, but never a body.
"At first I thought it was a mannequin," said MUD diver Bob Sweeney. "First just looking at it, it had a stocking cap on and when I peeled back the stocking cap and there was actually an ear under it that's when I said, 'I think this is a little more than a mannequin.'"
"We dont' normally find bodies," added fellow diver Darrin Jillson. "That's the one question people want to know: 'What are you doing, you looking for a body?' We usually say 'no,' but in this particular case there was one."
An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning. The case remains under investigation.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Benton Harbor Police Detective Bureau at (269) 927-8448.