The body of Dakota James, a graduate student from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, was found in the Ohio River by a woman walking her dog at 8 a.m.
After seeing the body, she called emergencies to report the sighting. Police arrived at the spot, and they confirmed that James’ body was wearing the same clothes that he was last seen with before disappearing, a pair of dark-colored coat and jeans.
Water rescue teams responded to the call and saw the body floating down the river and getting caught on a buoy.
A terrible ordeal finally comes to an end
Debbie Dohmlo, the woman who first spotted the body said she found something in the water.
“I looked closer … and I saw the ear and the shoulder. That’s wen I knew. I’m just so sorry for the family. But I’m glad the family has closure. They don’t have to wonder,” she stated.
An autopsy is scheduled for the upcoming days as the cause of death has not been revealed.
23-year-old Dakota James was last seen on January 25 as he was going out with his friends in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He was spotted on surveillance footage at 11:49 p.m., outside the Wood Street T Station, seeing a friend leave in an Uber ride. Then, James was seen walking on the Katz Plaza in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. His whereabouts after that are yet unknown. James did not show up for his job on the following day, which raised alarms among his acquaintances.
“We’ve walked every street in this town and we need that person who knows what we don’t. No one knows what the outcome of this will be, but someone out there knows where my son is,” stated Jeff James, Dakota’s father, according to NBC News.
Dakota James had moved to Pittsburgh in 2015 to attend Duquesne University. His acquaintances recognize him as punctual and caring, unlikely to go on about missing without warning. Detectives have collected surveillance footage from the surroundings and business owners were questioned about seeing the young graduate student.
Searches took place with the Pittsburgh River Rescue and K-9 units joining in. They used specialized cameras and SONAR to survey the river waters, but apparently, they missed the place where the woman was walking around with her dog.
The quest for Dakota James was assisted by Bring Our Missing Home, a national organization that helps families look out for their lost loved ones.
Dakota James was 5’8” tall, weighed 145 pounds, and had brown hair and brown eyes. He featured pierced ears and had a single triangle tattoo on his ankle.
“Dakota and his family have been in our prayers throughout this difficult ordeal. I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic outcome, and I extend my deepest sympathy to Dakota’s family and friends on behalf of the entire Duquesne University,” added Duquesne president Ken Gomley in a public statement.