Search for body in Ware's Creek comes up empty

HERALD STAFF REPORTMarch 7, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Multiple agencies called off a 90-minute search Thursday afternoon after two residents reported seeing a body in Ware's Creek.

"Witnesses told us there was something floating in the water," Lt. Nichole Miller of the Bradenton Police Department said of the search at the intersection of Virginia Drive and the Seventh Avenue West Bridge in historic Ware's Creek.

"We called for the assistance of the Bradenton Fire Department, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office watch (helicopter) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission," Miller added. "But we have had no indication of anything."

Although the couple who called the police were not identified, Amy Weaver and Susan Taylor of Ware's Creek were taking a walk when they stopped to hear the couple give details to police.

"I do believe the witnesses saw a body," Taylor said. "These witnesses were a well-dressed couple in their 40s who appeared very sober and upstanding. This wasn't a drunk person who thought they saw something."

Authorities found the bloated carcass of a possum but the couple said that wasn't what they had seen.

Weaver said she believes the body probably floated north under the Manatee Avenue West Bridge.

"I think they should have blocked off the Manatee Avenue Bridge immediately because the current was ripping," Weaver said. "I think they missed the body."

Authorities did everything they could to locate what the witnesses saw, Miller said.

"We got a lot of information but we have had nothing to back it up so far," Miller added.

The search caught the attention of hundreds of motorists crossing the Manatee Avenue West Bridge just before the end of the work day.

"I thought it was someone running from the police," said Bradenton's James Ahearn who stood on the Seventh Avenue West Bridge to watch the MCSO helicopter make passes up and down Ware's Creek.

"Oh my God, a body? I hope not," said Rich Colombraro , who just moved to the Ware's Creek area and was also watching events unfold from the Seventh Avenue West Bridge. "You never want to hear that. I just hope it's not true."

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