COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The body of a man found in the Scioto River has been identified as 26-year-old Joey LaBute, Jr.
The Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz says dental records were used to identify him.
He was found Tuesday around 1 p.m. by a dive team working on multiple missing person cases for the Special Victims Bureau.
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“There is some closure that he was found, but now we wait to see what actually happened,” says Sam Schisler, chief marketing officer for the Union Cafe.
The community is finally able to grieve, now knowing it was LaBute who was recovered from the river. Many of those attending the vigil tonight were part of the community who rallied together in the search efforts to find LaBute over the past few weeks.
“The community can come together hug each other, remind each other, love wins,” say Schisler.
But, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the mystery of LaBute’s death and disappearance
“It’s still that lingering question,” says Schisler.
Dr. Ortiz says her office does not have a cause of death. She says an autopsy was performed yesterday. They found no external trauma to LaBute’s body, meaning no gunshot or stab wounds.
“Right now we’re waiting on toxicology, which may or may not help us,” she says.
Dr. Ortiz says LaBute had died at least three weeks ago and because of that it’s possible the cause of death could be undetermined.
“We’re not 100% sure, but we’re pretty much sure that he had died prior to ending up into the river,” she says.
Dr. Ortiz says working on cases like this are tough, especially because her sons are the same age as LaBute.
She says they’ll be working hard to figure out what happened to him.
“It is a very hard situation to go through sure much harder for the parents than anyone of us here,” says Dr. Ortiz.
She says it could take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to get the toxicology reports back.
This an ongoing investigation, as police try to fill in the blanks from when LaBute was last seen in the Short North to March 5th to where he was recovered in the river on Tuesday.
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