LAWRENCE, Kan. — Authorities have determined that a body that was found near Hartsburg in the Missouri River four years ago is that of a missing Kansas man.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports that DNA was used to help identify the remains of Phillip Owen Morgan. The Lawrence, Kansas, man was 38 when he was reported missing on June 11, 2015.
Three days later, the body of an unidentified drowning victim was found near the southern Boone County town of Hartsburg.
Several people told police that Owen liked to hike near the Kansas River, which was flooding when he disappeared. It dumps into the Missouri River in the Kansas City area.
Former Lawrence Police Det. Warren Burket, who worked the case before retiring from the force, said he always hoped to go back to Morgan's parents with good news. But he said he is very glad that they do have closure.
Morgan's body was first seen about 4:20 a.m., on June 15, 2015, after people clearing logs away from their houseboat at Cooper’s Landing saw it floating in the river, Gale Blomenkamp of the Boone County Fire Protection District said at the time.
Boats were launched from Cooper’s Landing and Hartsburg and a team from the Southern Boone County Fire Protection District found the body floating downstream, about three miles away from where the people at Cooper’s Landing first made the sighting.
The remains were badly decomposed and officials were not able to identify Morgan from fingerprints.