A body recovered from an irrigation canal north of Donna has tentatively been identified as that of a Donna man who went missing this weekend.
“He was tentatively identified through tattoos as Mario Hernandez,” Sgt. Frank Medrano, a public information officer with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra first reported the incident via Twitter Sunday evening, saying that deputies were assisting the Donna Fire Department in the search for a potential drowning victim who had entered the canal and had not resurfaced.
Crews searched the canal, located near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 493 and Roosevelt Road to no avail Sunday, ultimately calling off search efforts after dark.
“Sheriff’s investigators went out. Deputies went out; we had the Donna Fire Department go out with a boat and we drug the canal and nothing,” Medrano said, adding that Elsa Fire Department also assisted in search efforts.
Investigators returned to the canal Monday and began following its path northward. Their search came to an end near Mile 16 Road.
“Yesterday in the afternoon, major crimes investigators began to walk north (along) the canal and about 4 miles north of where the victim had gone in is where they located the body,” Medrano said.
An autopsy has been ordered to definitively identify the body and determine cause of death; however, Medrano said Hernandez and a family member had been walking along the canal Sunday.
Hernandez allegedly jumped into the canal, which Medrano described as “not very deep.”
Too, its floodgates were open, which would have created suction, he said.