UPDATE: 12/26/15 10:03 a.m.
The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office has identified the subject as 60-year-old James Richard Gibson. MCSO has learned that Gibson was reported missing to Mobile police on Christmas Eve and was last seen around December 12. The investigation is ongoing, and MCSO is awaiting results from an autopsy to determine how Gibson died.
Children made a startling discovery in Wilmer that sparked an investigation and makes neighbors worried for their safety.
Authorities said a couple of children were playing near a ditch when they noticed something in the water.
“He said the face was down in the water where you couldn’t see it. But, you could see a hand. You could see it was a swollen hand, so he knew it was a human,” said neighbor Tammy Clark.
Tammy Clark’s house is just a few feet from the drainage ditch at the end of Walman Road in Wilmer.
“For something that horrible to happen so close to home. It gets to you. It gets to you,” Clark said.
Authorities think the body, which was already decomposing, may have been there for a few days before anyone noticed.
“It’s trying to sink in because we’re going about regular life and not even realizing ,” Clark said as she looked at the ditch. “I just pray that whoever it was, because they’ve got family somewhere, God be with them and God bless them.”
A key piece to this bizarre story is a wallet investigators found on the man.
The id inside quickly told authorities who he was so they could try to call his family.
They said he was reported missing in Mobile earlier this week, but can’t tell us his name until they reach his loved ones.
It’s still too soon to tell whether or not foul play was involved, but we’ll keep you updated as the investigation continues.