Boat 2

A boat carrying a body recovered from a tributary of the Tennessee River near the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge administration building Friday morning arrives at a ramp behind the building. [MICHAEL WETZEL/DECATUR DAILY]

An unidentified body was found floating in a tributary of the Tennessee River near the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge administration building on Friday morning, according to authorities.

Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn said the body “was unidentifiable” as a male or female. He would not elaborate. He pronounced the death at 10:11 a.m.

Chunn said it was also too early to determine the cause of death. If ruled a homicide, it would be the county’s 20th homicide of 2020.

He said he received a call from Morgan County 911 at 9:42 a.m. about a body discovered in the water.

Decatur police spokeswoman Emily Long said an individual in a boat notified authorities a body had been spotted in the water. At 10:30 a.m., two Decatur-Morgan County Rescue Squad boats were attempting to recover the body floating in Crabtree Slough, west of the refuge building and north of Point Mallard Parkway.

At 11:10 a.m., a rescue squad boat brought the body to a ramp behind the administration building.

The body was then transported to the state forensics office in Huntsville for an autopsy. Chunn said it could be Tuesday before an autopsy is performed.

About 20 officials from the Decatur Police Department, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the Decatur-Morgan County Rescue Squad and the Morgan County Coroner’s Office responded to the incident.

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