The body of a 19-year-old who had been missing since falling into the Kalamazoo River in Battle Creek a week ago has been recovered and identified.

The drowning victim was identified as Eric Punzo of Olivet. Punzo’s body was found Sunday afternoon, May 10, by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources officer patrolling the area by boat.

The 19-year-old fell into the river on the evening of Monday, May 4 while trying to retrieve an item that had fallen in that belonged to a friend. Dive teams with ALURT (Area Law Enforcement Underwater Recovery Team) spent three days searching for Punzo in difficult water conditions before suspending those efforts on Thursday, May 7.

Punzo's body was recovered along the south side of the river near the corner of Parish and Hayes Streets. Family members of the victim had searched the sides of the river every day and were on the scene at the time of recovery. A private company flew drones over the area after dive efforts were suspended and DNR officers were conducting regular boat searches of the river.

Police say they believe Punzo was unable to swim. His body was taken to the Calhoun County Medical Examiner's Office at Western Michigan University for an autopsy.

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