Palmetto, Florida -- Manatee Sheriff's deputies say they have tentatively identified the body of a man found floating in Manatee River Tuesday afternoon as missing Palmetto High School media specialist Patrick Mullins.
Authorities stress this is a tentative ID but they did prepare Mullins' family for the worst when they stopped by their home Tuesday evening. Detective Darryl Davis with the Manatee County Sheriff's office says "I think it's more closure than anything. My job was to let them know that there's been a tentative identification."
At around 1 p.m. Tuesday a fisherman found a body in about three feet of water near the mouth of the Manatee River about a half mile from Emerson Point. That's about 18 miles away from Mullins' home.
His family told 10 News last week Mullins' hadn't been feeling well. Jodi John is Mullins' Sister in Law and says, "He'd been having some neck pains, some headaches, so we're quite concerned that he may have taken ill on the boat."
Mullins 16 foot boat was found a day after he went missing near the mouth of Tampa Bay, close to Egmont Key but he was nowhere to be found.
An autopsy is being performed on Wednesday on the body and that could provide some important answers.
Meanwhile Detective Davis says it's important for the community to support Mullins' family. He says, "We always hope for the best in difficult times and I think during these difficult times I think more than anything we always want the best to come out and sometimes it doesn't end that way but we always rally around people even during their darkest times. They need prayers from the entire community during this time of grief."