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Hernando sheriff: Body with 'distinct' marks found floating down river

Authorities said the body was in advanced stages of decomposition having been in the water for some time.

DADE CITY, Fla. — Authorities are trying to determine what led up to the death of a man whose body was found floating down the Withlacoochee River over the weekend.

A neighbor in the area called the Hernando County Sheriff's Office around 1 p.m. Sunday and told authorities two people in their canoe flagged him to report what they found, according to the agency. They then continued down the river.

The body was eventually recovered from the water by crews using an airboat. Authorities also searched the riverbank for any evidence related to the man's death, the sheriff's office said. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tried to find the two canoers, but its efforts came up empty.

In an update Monday afternoon, the sheriff's office says its investigators have learned the man's identity but will not release his name, citing Marsy's Law, which allows the identity of crime victims in Florida to be kept secret. The agency added that he was a victim of foul play and is now investigating several leads.

The body was said to be "in the advanced stages of decomposition" given that was in the water for an extended period of time. It, too, had "various and distinct scars, marks and/or tattoos."

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Hernando County Sheriff's Office at 352-754-6830.

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