Body found in Arkansas River identified as man who disappeared on rafting trip

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A body found in the Arkansas River near Florence in July has been identified as Eric Ashby, the Colorado Springs man who went missing on a rafting trip in June. 

Ashby, 31, disappeared after he fell out of a raft in the Royal Gorge area of the Arkansas River on June 28. The three other people in the raft also fell into the river, but they made it out safely, while Ashby was swept away in the current.

Two of the rafters told Ashby’s friends they saw him alive, hanging on a rock, just moments after his raft flipped over. They said they panicked, and left without trying to help or call authorities.

His family reported him missing July 8, after friends told them he had been in the accident. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers found a man’s body in the river near the LafargeHolcim cement plant east of Florence on July 28. The El Paso County coroner performed an autopsy on the body, then sent DNA samples to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, where investigators compared them to the DNA of Ashby’s father. 

On Friday, the Fremont County coroner received a DNA report confirming the remains were Ashby’s. The coroner’s office said his family has been notified. 

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