Body in river ID#8217;ed as Ky. man

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Workers at Dow Chemical made a startling discovery of a human body when they arrived for work Monday morning — and their discovery solved a mystery for Kentucky authorities.

“When the workers began arriving at about 7:30, they found a body floating in the river between the barge and the riverfront,” Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jeff Lawless said. “Our office’s marine patrol launched an inflatable boat and recovered the body.”

The body has been identified as that of Ralph D. Roquet, 53, of Flemingsburg, Ky., who had been missing since March 30, sheriff’s office investigator Aaron Bollinger said.

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Bollinger said the body was recovered with a wallet containing Roquet’s Kentucky driver’s license.

Troopers with the Morehead post of the Kentucky State Police confirmed that Roquet’s vehicle had been found abandoned on a bridge in Maysville, Ky., crossing the Ohio River, and that a suicide note had been found in it.

“The note said he was depressed and couldn’t live any longer and that he had jumped,” Bollinger said. “It was written to police.”

The body has been sent to the Franklin County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy and Bollinger said he is awaiting dental records to further confirm Roquet’s identity.

Officials are trying to determine how the body that entered the water more than 75 miles downstream, wound up in Hamilton Township.

Authorities do not know with all certainty, but speculate it could have gotten caught under a barge moving upstream and later became dislodged and surfaced near the chemical plant.

Lawless said until an autopsy is performed and the cause of death officially determined, the matter is under investigation.