Over the course of a year, headlines popped up in Louisville, often giving only sparse details about another body – or body parts – found in the Ohio River.
It’s unclear whether the number of occurrences this year is unusual — Louisville Metro Police have not responded to the matter. The Louisville Fire Department — which deals with rescuing people from the river, not recovering — was called in to rescue more people from the river than last year, but not as many as in 2020 ( although there are still two months left in the year).
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Regardless of the rates seen in previous years, many would say that one body or especially the discovery of some spare body parts is too much. So far in 2022, officers have responded to calls about the human remains of eight people in the river. Of these, one body has not been found and four others have not been identified.
Here is what we know of the cases:
Two die in stiff January river water
Confusion and terror tore through the streets of downtown Louisville as an undressed woman sprinted towards the river and jumped on January 13. Spectators called her, then one jumped – a man known for his heroic efforts to help foreigners in crisis.
Neither survived – although almost a year later only one has been found.
The body of Adam Thomas, 34, was found more than 100 miles downriver near Newburgh, Indiana, in April.
A father and business owner, Thomas jumped into the river near the historic wharf – at a time when the water was high, turbulent and freezing cold.
It was posthumously awarded the Carnegie MedalNorth America’s highest honor for civilian bravery.
The woman’s body, which has not been identified, has not been found.
Upper limb found in March
Human remains were found on the banks of the river in March and October, they have not been identified, according to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.
An upper limb was found on the banks near 16th Street and the Northwestern Parkway on March 14. Other details, such as the person’s gender, age and race, are unknown.
The file notes that the body is not recognizable but that the person had a tattoo on the forearm.
The few details available have been uploaded to The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System by the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office on March 23.
This unidentified person is the most recent of the eight unidentified cases uploaded to the National Database in Louisville – the oldest dating from 1978.
Unidentified woman found in August
A the woman’s body was recovered of the river on the morning of August 19.
Her body was found near Sixth Street on River Road and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
A foul play is not suspected, according to the LMPD and the woman’s identity has not been released. The woman is not believed to be related to the January incident.
The LMPD Homicide Unit is investigating.
Man found while hiking, biking and paddling
A Prospect man was found in the river during the town’s Hike, Bike & Paddle event on September 6.
He was later identified as Christopher Wectawski, 56, and his cause of death was consistent with drowning, according to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. His time of death is listed as September 5 – the day before his body was found.
LMPD has not released any details of how he ended up in the water.
Unidentified man found near Upper Locks
A body was pulled from the Ohio River late on September 8 – the second body found in the river in two days.
LMPD officers responded to a call just before 10 p.m. from an individual who feared he had seen what looked like a body at the upper locks of the Ohio River. The body of an adult male was found by the LMPD river patrol.
The department’s homicide unit is handling the investigation.
As of October 27, the man had not been identified.
Body of missing woman found near Big Four Bridge
On October 15, the body of a missing woman was found near the Big Four Bridge.
Miriam Hope, 42, of Louisville, drowned, according to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. Louisville Metro Police had released a flyer three days prior in hopes of locating Hope.
She was last seen on October 10 and police said she needed medical attention.
No other details about his case have been released.
Unidentified man found near Kentucky Science Center
Within just four days, a second body was found in the river.
The body of a man was found on October 19 and more than a week later he was still unidentified.
The man was found just before 10:30 a.m. near the Louisville Loop behind the Kentucky Science Center.
The following week, the coroner’s office described him as a white male in his 30s or 40s, with short brown hair, brown eyes, 5’7” and 225 pounds. He wore a gray T-shirt with an image of an orange “Dukes of Hazzard” General Lee 01 race car on the front. He also had a red T-shirt with a St. Bernard dog image on the front. Additionally, he had a possible surgical scar on the front of his left shoulder.
He is believed to have died on October 16.
Anyone with information about the man’s identity is asked to call (502) 574-1971.
Contact journalist Krista Johnson at[email protected].