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Days after fleeing St. Joseph police, man is found dead in river

The 39-year-old's body was found submerged in water.

A man who fled from police during a traffic stop was found dead submerged in a river days later.

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office says the body of Michael Henry, 39, of Richmond, was found in the Watab River on Thursday, and is thought to have been there for some time.

Five days earlier, this past Saturday, Henry fled from St. Joseph police when they pulled him over for an "equipment violation" on Leaf Road and County Road 2.

Although he stopped his vehicle, Henry ran to the west.

Despite police setting up a perimeter to find him, and using a drone with thermal imaging infrared technology, they couldn't find him.

Henry's father reported him missing on Wednesday, with police unable to track him down by pinging his phone.


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A search was launched on Thursday using a Sheriff's Office bloodhound and the drone again.

Neither were able to find Henry, but then a deputy searching near the south fork of the Watab came across his body about a quarter of a mile from where the traffic stop happened.

"All indications show Henry had been in the water for some time," the sheriff's office said.

"The river is approximately 18-24 inches deep in this location and the water temperature is approximately 50 degrees. The river, in most cases, is 10-12 feet across."

Investigators are now awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the cause of death, and are also trying to retrace the route he took when fleeing police.

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