Man's body found floating in the Withlacoochee River in Hernando County: Deputies

A death investigation is underway after man's body was found floating in the Withlacoochee River on Sunday afternoon, according to the  Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. 

Deputies said a Ranch Road resident called 911 at around 1 p.m. saying while he was in his backyard, a couple of people canoeing on the Withlacoochee River told him they found a man’s body in the water. 

Investigators said the pair continued down the river after reporting the information to the 911 caller. 

Hernando County Fire Rescue crews used an airboat to find the man and remove him from the water. First responders said he was taken ashore at 33038 Ranch Road and pronounced dead. 

The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission was called upon to find the people in the canoe who initially found the body, but officers were unable to locate the pair. 

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The HCSO marine unit also responded to the area with a riverboat to search the banks for evidence linked to the body found. Detectives and forensics specialists say the body had been in the water for some time because it was in the advanced stages of decomposition. 

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday to determine the cause of death, but authorities said they suspect foul play in the man's death based on preliminary findings. 

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HCSO was working to identify the man who was found dead, but they have since identified him and notified his next of kin. Deputies have not released the identity of the victim. 

Detectives said the body has various and distinct scars, marks, and/or tattoos. Deputies are now following up on leads to figure out how the man died.