Body found in canal near Shockoe Bottom

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Police are working to identify a body found Saturday afternoon in the Kanawha Canal in Shockoe Bottom.

Police shut down Dock Street for much of the afternoon while the rescue team recovered a body from the canal.

The body was found less than a block away from where a missing Shockoe Bottom man lived. Now the Medical Examiner will try to figure out whether or not it was Matthew Williams found in the water.

Police received a call around 2:00 p.m. Saturday after someone passing by saw a body in the canal.

Officers arrived to find a dead man in the canal. Right now police do not know who the man is. Investigators are trying to figure out whether this body belongs to Matthew Williams - the Shockoe Bottom man that has been missing since December 13th.

"We don't know at this point if this is the missing young man that police have been searching for," said James Mercante of the Richmond Police Department.

It's hard to go far in Shockoe Bottom without seeing a flyer pleading for help finding him. Williams was last seen at the Hat Factory in Shockoe Bottom. Police interviewed three persons of interest in Williams' disappearance and eventually let them go.

Police spent hours searching the canal before, but the body was visible Saturday because the canal has been drained. Public Utilities drains the canal routinely for maintenance, but police asked them to speed up the draining this year to help with their search for Williams.

Police say it may be several days before the Medical Examiner will be able to identify the body.

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