Special Reports

The search for Robert Manwill: No ID on body, but same age and size of Manwill, police say

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Melissa Jenkins left the Boise police headquarters in tears Monday afternoon, and later police officials confirmed why: The body found in a canal between Boise and Kuna Monday is of a boy about the same age and size of her missing 8-year-old son, Robert Manwill.

Deputy Chief Jim Kerns said that so far Monday, officials don't have a positive ID on the body, though. That could have to wait until Ada County Coroner can work to determine who the boy was and how he died Tuesday.

A citizen called to report the body floating in the New York Canal sometime after 1 p.m. Monday. The first Ada County deputy to respond saw the boy, jumped in and pulled him out, Kerns said.

The canal is the same one that crosses Vista Avenue less than a half-mile away from the apartment where Robert was reportedly last seen. The spot where the body was found is around 2 miles southeast from the Boise home near Five Mile Road that police searched Friday night.

Soon after the body was found, police postponed a 2 p.m. press conference that was scheduled to update the community on the search, which had lasted for more than a week since Robert was reported missing at 10:11 p.m. Friday, July 24.

A canal company worker said it would be possible for a body to travel from where the canal passes Vista Avenue to where a body was found Monday.

In the past several years, bodies have been known to travel far down canals over several days and even a few weeks.

— In 1991, a 4-year-old was discovered about two weeks after he fell into the Phyllis Canal near Nampa — and about 14 miles downstream

In 1996, at least three people traveled some distance in local canals:

— A 19-year-old was found in the New York Canal a month after he disappeared. His truck was found about two miles upstream.

— A man was discovered in an irrigation ditch, about five miles away from where he was swept away while he and his friends were swimming.

— A transient was discovered near the entrance of Lake Lowell — farther even than the body found Monday near Cloverdale. Officials didn't know where he first fell into the canal, but figured it was somewhere in Ada County about 10 days before he was found.

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