Detective: Body found in river has 'tentatively' been identified as missing Palmetto High teacher Patrick Mullins

February 5, 2013 

MANATEE -- A body found in the Manatee River on Tuesday has "tentatively" been identified as missing Palmetto High School teacher Patrick Mullins, according to a detective with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Detective Darryl Davis disclosed the investigation's findings outside Mullins' home, where he had gone to notify the family.

A more conclusive finding won't be determined until after an autopsy on Wednesday, officials said.

Investigators had found an identification card in a wallet on the body found by fisherman earlier in the day.

Tuesday evening, family and friends of Mullins, missing since Jan. 27, were gathering at his Bradenton home.

About 12:15 p.m., a fisherman found the body in about three feet of water, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The body appeared to have "been in the water for a substantial period of time," said Officer Baryl Martin, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office marine unit responded about 12:50 p.m., according to a news release.

The body was brought ashore about 2 pm at Blenker boat works and marina on the south bank of Manatee River in Bradenton.

Mullins is the media specialist at Palmetto High School.

"We're just sitting tight and waiting," said Mullins' sister-in-law Kim Mullins after the body was found but before the tentative identification was made. "We were certainly hoping to find him alive. It would give us some closure."

Mullins said family and friends have continued to search for Mullins, even after the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies officially called off their search.

"We've been looking this week, even this morning," Kim Mullins said. "It's been a tough week, emotionally draining."

Emerson Point is located on the north side of the Manatee River, west of Palmetto, near the confluence with Tampa Bay.

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