Weights were fastened to body found in Chickamauga Creek

Weights were fastened to body found in Chickamauga Creek

August 23rd, 2011 by Kate Belz in News

Chattanooga police and fire department officials at a site off Shallowford Road prepare for emergency response crews to send a boat upstream to retrieve a man's body found in South Chickamauga Creek.

Photo by Kate Belz/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga police are calling the case of a man's body found in South Chickamauga Creek on Sunday a suspicious death after discovering weights strapped to the man's body.

The body was so bloated, investigators were unable to pin down any identifying features of the body besides its gender, according to police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary.

"The only thing we can say for sure at this point is that he was a man," said Weary. "Age, race, how exactly he died -- that's all going to have to be determine by the medical examiner."

Weary said the weights were attached to the man's legs and loaded in a pack fitted to his back. She did not have information about what type of weights were used.

Fishermen first spotted the clothed body washed up along a bank of the creek near the Shallowford Road overpass Sunday afternoon.

Officials pulled it out after an extensive three-hour recovery operation that involved the body being floated downstream to a more accessible point along the creek.

Weary said recovery crews had to be especially delicate because of the body's deteriorated condition.

"He was so heavily bloated they didn't want to take any risks of rupturing the body in any way," she said.

At this point, it's unclear exactly how the man died or how long he had been in the water, Weary said.

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at kharrison@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.