Family: Body found in barrel is missing Elkhart man Mark Miller
ELKHART, Ind. -- ABC 57 has confirmed with family members that the body found in the river has been identified, by police, as Mark Miller.
It has been two weeks since Mark Miller, the owner of an Elkhart tattoo parlor, went missing. Several of his acquaintances, friends and family members gathered around the gruesome crime scene off State Road 120 and County Road 17 Thursday evening, anxiously waiting to see if the body that was discovered in the river was that of Mark Miller.
At 4:02 p.m. on Thursday, the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department responded to a 911 call that reported the discovery of a body in the St. Joseph River just west of the Six Span Bridge in Elkhart County.
According to deputies, a body was found inside a steel 55-gallon barrel that was approximately 10 feet from the river bank, near a pile of tree logs.
According to witnesses and neighbors in the area, three Ron's Pier Service employees were removing logs from the river when they discovered the barrel among the debris. The barrel had a label that read, 'chemicals' on it, so the crew decided to take a closer look. The employees looked through the hole in the lid and noticed a pair of shoes.
The employees told witnesses something just did not seem right, so they decided to take the lid off. When the crew opened the lid, they immediately saw a person's hips and what looked to be someone bent in half inside the barrel.
Captain Jim Bradberry of the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department said the weather is playing a critical role in their investigation.
"The main thing right now is to collect as much evidence as we can, in the short time frame that we can, because if it does say rain tonight or tomorrow, it could wash away any kind of evidence that might be there,” said Bradberry.
No word yet how long Miller's body had been there in the water, that's something the Elkhart County Coroner and detectives are still investigating.
Police will continue Friday talking to the workers who discovered the barrel, as well as family and friends who are now coping with their loss.