The body of a man was found in a Planada canal around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday near Santa Fe and Gerard avenues, according to the Merced County Sheriff's Department.
Investigators haven't released his identity.
Details are extremely sketchy about the case, although sheriff's investigators believe the body may be a man who possibly drowned last weekend in Planada.
Deputies searched for the man Saturday after an 11:30 p.m. call from a witness who went to a fire station, claiming his friend entered the canal. The sheriff's dive team went to the scene at Childs and Hupp avenues, but was unable to find a body, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.
The Merced Sheriff's helicopter was also in the air using its FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) to detect any possible body heat in the fields and roads in the surrounding area, but was also unable to locate any evidence of the man.
MacKenzie said numerous conflicting statements were given by the witness, and the case was classified as a missing person.
At the time, there was no evidence of foul play. MacKenzie said Thursday that a conclusion hasn't been made about the death, and investigators are awaiting the results of an autopsy.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.