Man who died after disappearing from horseback in Merced River identified

The Merced County Coroner’s Office has identified a man who was found dead in the Merced River, authorities said.

The body of the 44-year-old man identified as Aires Duarte Agueda of Winton was found Monday morning by the Merced County Sheriff’s Office Water Recovery Team. Merced County Sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Allen confirmed Agueda is the man who reportedly disappeared from horseback Sunday afternoon while riding the horse into the river.

Authorities said as the river deepened, the horse lost its footing and began to swim. A friend who was riding with the man told deputies he saw Agueda go underwater and disappear. The horse swam back to shore and was not harmed, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Dive team members searched the river for the man until about 8 p.m. Sunday, before resuming the search at about 7:30 a.m. Monday, Allen said.

The Coroner’s Office has not determined an official cause of death but foul play is not suspected, authorities, said.