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Update: Body of missing fugitive recovered from Lehigh

Crews search for a missing fugitive who fled from police and fell into the river Tuesday night. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The search resumed this morning for a man who fled Franklin Township police and jumped into the Lehigh River Tuesday night. Shortly after 1 p.m. crews recovered the body of the man, whose identity has not been released.

Township police Chief Jason Doll said police received a call at around 7:30 p.m. for a suspicious person in the area of 400 Canal Road wearing a gray hoodie who had come to the residence and asked to hide out because he said police were chasing him.

Doll said police were not chasing the man, but upon receiving the call, officer Michael Fedor went to the residence looking for the man, and as he passed by the Boatyard, Fedor saw what he believed to be the man by the door of the restaurant.

He said Fedor then drove by and turned back around to speak with the man, who was in the parking lot and then took off running. Fedor took off and started chasing after the man because he believed him to be the suspicious person.

Doll said the man then went through the canal and over onto the other side as Fedor chased him toward the river, at which time the man jumped into the river at around 8 p.m., stating that he didn’t want to go to jail.

He said since the man was too far out to get as he went down the river, Fedor tried to reach out to him multiple times with sticks to provide assistance, but the man refused.

Doll said that somewhere in the area of the trestle, Fedor said he saw the man get into a heavier current, the man went under and they didn’t see him resurface.

He said Fedor and some fishermen who were in the area watched the area where the man was and tried to look for him as Fedor ran down the river but didn’t see the man come out.

Doll said at that point, rescue crews started to show up searching, and searched the area in the water.

He said they attempted to use cameras, but the current was too heavy.

Doll said at that point they found the area where the man may have been, but it was too deep, and since they weren’t sure, the search and rescue team called the search off at around 12:30 a.m.

He said they were expected to reconvene later this morning and go back down and search the area where they believe the man may have been.

As of press time, Doll said police suspect who the male may be, but since they weren’t sure, he didn’t want to release the name.

He said Fedor suffered a minor injury during the incident.

Doll said also assisting at the scene were Lehighton Police Department, Mahoning Police Department, Lehighton Fire Company, Lehighton water rescue and ALS, Walnutport teams, and Northampton and Whitehall water rescue and dive teams.

Crews search for a man who reportedly jumped into the river while running from police. COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS