September 19, 2014

Elyria
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Report of body sets off search at park

ELYRIA — For 30 minutes Wednesday afternoon, authorities combed the water of the Black River in Cascade Park, searching for a body that a witness said they saw.

The search, however, turned up nothing even though the witness was positive that he saw a young girl in the water.

Elyria firefighters search for a body reported to have been seen Wednesday by a witness in the Black River at Cascade Park. No body was found. Steve Manheim / Chronicle

Elyria firefighters search for a body reported to have been seen Wednesday by a witness in the Black River at Cascade Park. No body was found. Steve Manheim / Chronicle

Benjamin Corliss called police when he said he saw a body wash underneath a log in the water. Emergency crews arrived around 3 p.m., and a rescue dive team was on hand as well.

Afterward, Corliss said he remained convinced that what he saw was a body and not an animal or a rock. Corliss, who was walking on the rocks looking for snapping turtles, said he saw a hand float out of the water and then hair wash under a log. He said the body appeared to be that of a young girl, approximately 6 years old. He added that he also saw a girl’s bicycle in the water, next to a dead fish.

Corliss said divers were “just poking around,” and he said he does not believe they searched the area thoroughly.

Elyria fire Lt. Chris Hayes said the divers are trained in Cascade Park, so they know how to handle searches there. Because of the weak current, a body could not have washed far from the area, Hayes said.

“It’s a very mild current right now, and they searched in all directions,” he said.

According to Hayes, the divers set up a 40-foot by 40-foot controlled grid of the area and used poles to search the water. He said the Fire Department has responded to similar incidents in Cascade Park in the past.

Elyria police said the investigation was closed Wednesday afternoon.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.