The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has identified the body discovered by the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday, Feb. 3, as 35-year-old Chris Reich, who was last seen on Jan. 17, 2014. The reported cause of death, according to a Jefferson County Sheriff's Office press release, is drowning. Police are investigating Reich's death as a possible suicide, due to his history of mental health issues, said Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rod Carroll, but the death is still under investigation.
"We're looking into the angle of a suicide because of where he was found and the history of that location," Carroll said. "Because of the location there at that bridge (the Rainbow Bridge), when you get a call about a body in the water in that area, immediately you think of the bridge."
The Coast Guard found Reich's body near the Rainbow Bridge while patrolling the Neches River, and notified the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office around 5 p.m. Monday, that the body of a white male, approximately 25 to 35 years of age, had been discovered floating on the water. The man found had a beard and mustache and was heavily tattooed, but there was no identification on the body.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rod Carroll said JCSO investigated several missing persons from the area as possible matches for the found body, including Reich, who fit the description. It was phone calls received saying Reich's tattoos met the description JCSO provided media during a request for help from the public and a flyer Carroll was sent via e-mail Monday, Feb. 3, with information on Reich that helped police identify the body, he said.
According to the flyer, Reich had emotional disorders and left on foot when he disappeared from the Maplecrest addition of Vidor.
Several friends and family members of Reich expressed concerns on social media that the body found might be a possible match with the 35-year-old.
"The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office would like to thank everyone that contacted us and assisted with the identification of Mr. Reich," the sheriff's office said in a press release.