The body of a 38-year-old Santee man is thought to have been recovered Wednesday in the Missouri River 11 days after he was reportedly involved in an ATV accident that also took the life of his girlfriend.
Santee Fire Chief Seymour Brandt confirmed the identity of body as Arturo Rouillard. Brandt said the body was discovered Wednesday morning across from the Santee boat dock about 4 miles downstream, east of the original accident scene and brought to shore around noon.
Although airplanes were used in the search Wednesday, Brandt said the discovery was made by boaters. The ATV was not found, and the search was immediately ceased upon discovery of Rouillard’s body.
"We were notified of the body by some boaters. They came and told us. They showed us on a map and we headed straight out," Brandt said.
Santee Fire and Rescue identified the body, which was then taken directly to the funeral home. It's unclear if an autopsy will be performed.
Officials said they believe Rouillard was night fishing with his longtime girlfriend Adrienne Denney at Crazy Peak at about 2:30 a.m. on May 5 when they were involved in an ATV accident as they were returning to Santee.
Denney's body was discovered by two Neligh fishermen that same morning. One of the men said they spotted her sitting upright against a bluff with her legs in the water.
“It was crazy. I was like, ‘Is that what I think that is?” said one of the fisherman, who asked not to be identified. “The water was only 49 degrees.”
He went on to say that there were no signs of any other people near her body. He did not see any other clothing, tracks or the four-wheeler.
The fisherman who found Denney's body said he didn’t even realize until the next day that there was another person involved in the accident. He saw law enforcement canvassing the area again the next morning when he stopped to inquire about the situation and was told the woman’s boyfriend remained unaccounted for.
“I had no idea there was someone else missing,” he said.
After nearly two weeks of searching, Brandt thanked the many volunteers and officials who assisted in the recovery, including many from other areas, including Winnebago and Homer.