Officials do not believe body is that of Burns

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 21, 2003

Local authorities said they think that a body found in the Ohio River near Coal Grove Monday is probably not that of missing Marshall University student Samantha Burns.

"In my mind, it's highly unlikely that this is Samantha Burns," Lawrence County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Gary Akers said. "It's just a guess on my part, but I think this body may have been in the river two or three weeks."

Burns has been missing since November 2002.

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Akers said the female found in the river was wearing one larger-sized gray running shoe, a pair of dark black or blue shorts and three rings on her left hand. The body was taken yesterday to the Franklin County Coroner's Office for an autopsy and for identification. A Lawrence County Sheriff's Office investigator is attending the autopsy, which was scheduled for this morning.

"Hopefully we'll get some answers soon on who this person is," Akers said.

The body was discovered Monday just after 4 p.m. by employees of McGinnis Inc. It was recovered by members of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office and its Marine Patrol and the Coal Grove Fire Department. The body was found floating face down in the Ohio River between Sheridan and the Coal Grove corporation limits.

Sheriff Tim Sexton said he knows of no reports of missing persons from Lawrence County.