DETROIT — The decapitated bodies of a man and a woman were pulled from the Detroit River and a nearby canal on Tuesday, about an hour before a fisherman discovered body parts just beneath the surface, along with a circular saw and a suitcase.
The bodies, which were also missing hands and feet, didn’t provide any immediate clues about the deaths or potential suspects, Detroit police said. Police wouldn’t comment on whether the fisherman’s grisly discovery was connected, but did confirm that additional body parts were found along the concrete and steel seawall.
“It was a gruesome sight — something you don’t want to see on the river when you want to relax,” the fisherman, Hollis Fussell, told The Associated Press from the river bank as police divers prepared to go into the river.
U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted the first body from shore about 6:45 a.m. in Fox Creek, which empties into the mile-wide Detroit River. The U.S. Coast Guard was called in to retrieve the body, and on their way to Fox Creek, guardsmen found the second mutilated body floating in the river.
About an hour later, Fussell was getting ready to set up his fishing gear along the river seawall when he looked into the partially clear and greenish water near Fox Creek. About 10 feet down, he said, he saw what looked like “three legs.”
“They were submerged in the water,” the 53-year-old said. “A sheet was in the water. A saw was there. A suitcase, too.”
The bodies and body parts were turned over to the Wayne County medical examiner’s office, whose investigators wouldn’t comment on the case.
Outside of the body parts found by Fussell, police wouldn’t comment on whether anything else was found in the river. They also were not sure if the body parts belonged to the bodies found floating in the water.
Investigators said there were few if any clues pointing to the circumstances that led to the bodies being dumped in the water.
“I have no idea, to be honest with you. It is different,” Sgt. Shawn Wesley said during a news conference not far from where the body parts were found in the Detroit River, which separates Detroit from Windsor, Ontario.
That section of the river, along the city’s far east side, is popular with anglers who typically arrive around dawn during the warm summer months to fish for walleye, rock bass and other fish. Border patrol agents often patrol the area.
Fox Creek meanders through a wooded area where small clumps of trees are broken up by pockets of high grass and tall weeds. The area has received very little maintenance over the years, so trash — plastic soda bottles, empty packs of cigarettes, clothing, even a baby’s crib mattress — litter the ground. A small boat sat abandoned on a rarely used parking lot.
The creek also connects to a series of narrow canals that abut backyards and the rear of some homes. Many of those home owners have boats and direct access to the river.
One, Nathan Izydorek, called the area a “paradise.”
“It’s quiet. There is little to no crime. I know all my neighbors,” said the 28-year-old, who takes frequent walks near the canal and seawall.
But he said he wasn’t totally surprised that bodies and body parts were found.
“It’s the Detroit River,” Izydorek said. “It’s interesting, but I’m not going to move or anything. If I feel like going for a walk, I’ll walk out here.”