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Police believe body pulled from Mississippi River was man who ran from officers Thursday

Police sources tell 5 On Your Side the man was suspected of melting copper near the riverfront.

ST. LOUIS — Police are still working to identify the man whose remains were pulled from the Mississippi River Saturday, and officers believe they were the last ones to see him alive.

Police were called to the riverfront near the north leg of the Gateway Arch at about 9 a.m. Thursday for a report of a man melting copper. When they arrived, he ran into the river, according to police sources familiar with the investigation.

Police called for the Fire Department's rescue boat, but then called it off when they saw the man get out of the river. Police are not sure how or when he went back into the water, according to the sources.  

Then, Saturday evening, someone aboard a Gateway Arch Riverboat spotted a body floating near the cables anchoring the boat to the shore and called police at 5:40 p.m. 

When they arrived along South Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard near the river, they found a dead man's body face down in the water.

The man was wearing the same clothing as the man who ran from officers Thursday, according to the sources.

Surveillance footage also shows the man running into the river once police arrived, according to the sources.

Now, investigators are working to learn the man's name.

Jared Comer and his 6-year-old son are regulars at the Gateway Arch Riverboat restaurant. They weren’t there Saturday, but spent the Memorial Day afternoon there hoping police can solve the case quickly.

“It's a sad situation that you don't have him identified yet, but he was down by the river, melting copper, obviously up to no good running from the police,” Comer said. “But people just don't understand the river, how dangerous it is. That river can just swallow you up. You got to be careful. Hopefully they find who he belongs to and let the family bury him properly.”

Bistate Development operates the Gateway Arch Riverboat. A spokesperson declined to comment on the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at (866) 371-TIPS (8477).

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