Body found in canal

Published: Aug. 20, 2011 at 3:19 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2011 at 10:54 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A body was found face-down in the Kanawha Canal in Shockoe Bottom.

It was discovered around 11 o'clock Saturday morning near the intersection of 21st and Dock Street.

Two people vacationing in Richmond found the body as they were walking down a path along the canal.

Firefighters say there doesn't appear to be any sign of trauma on the victim's body.

Now investigators are trying to figure out how this man ended up in the water.

Justin and Cayla Janachovsky are two of the many people that walk along the Kanawha Canal in Shockoe Bottom. Imagine their surprise when they were forced to take a detour while investigators pulled a body out of the water.

"We just thought it was an accident," Justin Janachovsky said.  "We didn't expect to hear there is a dead body out here. It's crazy."

A 911 call came in shortly after 11 Saturday morning about a body floating face down in the water. Firefighters say they don't know who the victim is but say he's an elderly African American man.

Police say they won't get involved with the investigation unless there's any foul play found by the medical examiner. Firefighters say there are no signs of trauma on the victim's body.

"We can't say a drowning or anything of that nature yet," said Shawn Jones of the Richmond Fire Department.  "I don't know if he just went out to the water and put his feet in, we don't know, so a lot of questions we don't have the answer to."

This is the second body found in the water downtown in less than a week.

A woman was found dead near Brown's Island on Tuesday. Investigators say there's no connection and it's just a strange coincidence to have two bodies found in a week.

Firefighters say it's too early to say whether this latest death is suspicious.

Still, people like Justin and Cayla say it makes them think twice about their safety in this area.

"I was shocked," Cayla Janachovsky said.  "I couldn't believe that was what it was. It always seems like a pretty safe area to at least be running through. I'll run just with my dogs. It kind of puts it in perspective that maybe it's not as safe as I thought."

Firefighters say the water is pretty calm so it's unlikely this man died upstream and ended up here.

Investigators say the victim had no ID on him but did have a few items with him that they hope will identify him.

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