No foul play is suspected in the disappearance of 19-year-old Stephen Tyler Emerick of northern Mississippi.
A body believed to be Emerick's was found Monday afternoon in the Yocona River near the Lafayette and Yalobusha county line.
Search parties have been scouring the region for a week for Emerick in rain, rising waters, and strong currents along Yocona River. The young man was last seen April 29.
"He's just a really sweet guy and caring, never hurt anybody," said Brittany Barton, a Lafayette County resident who met Emerick in middle school.
"It's been pretty rough not knowing where he was," she added.
Barton plans to offer condolences to his family.
"It was very shocking, around here you don't see things like that happening very much," she said.
The body was taken to Jackson for positive identification. Autopsy results should be completed by Tuesday evening.
The north Mississippi teenager was last seen in a Walmart the evening of April 29 after he left work sick. Since then, more than 100 have combed shallow waters for clues.
"I thought he just wondered off and would've came back alive," said Rosalind Johnson.
Emerick's truck was found May 1 on Highway 328 south of Taylor. Law enforcement said his wallet and cellphone were inside his truck and a key was in the ignition.
"It appeared he'd been in the river since Monday night," said Lafayette County Sheriff's Department Investigator Jarrett Bundren.
The body has not been positively identified but Investigator Bundren said a tattoo on the body is similar to a duck tattoo on Emerick's arm.
Based largely on the truck's evidence, the investigator said no foul play is suspected.
"Truck was found with ignition on, battery was dead, window was down," Investigator Bundren said. "The truck still had a half tank of gas in it. It's evident the truck had been turned off and the ignition turned forward like he was going to listen to the radio or something is what the crime lab advised me of."
Bundren said Emerick's family fished in the same area just one week before he disappeared.
"No family should have to go through that," Bundren said.
While the Lafayette County Sheriff won't say what items Emerick bought at two Walmarts the night he was last seen, they do say surveillance video captured his movements.
"We're not going to comment on that. It's still part of the investigation," Investigator Bundren said.
If anyone has information that could assist the Lafayette County Sheriff you are urged to call 1-662-234-6421.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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