A body found in a Connecticut river on March 15 was identified as missing man Achim Bailey, 23, authorities said on March 18.
Bailey, a Springfield, Massachusetts resident, vanished in January. He was seen on Jan. 13 leaving Samuel’s Tap & Table at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The last video footage believed to show Bailey came from cameras near railroad tracks. Footage showed a person police believe was Bailey walking on the tracks in the direction of the South End bridge.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni confirmed that the body was Bailey. The body was found in the Connecticut River in Longmeadow after firefighters spotted the body and police officers and firefighters brought it to shore.
BREAKING: We now have confirmation that the body pulled from the Connecticut River Friday afternoon was Achim Bailey,…
While police are continuing to investigate what happened, there were no signs of foul play.
A representative of Samuel’s told Western Mass News after the death was announced, “Achim was a familiar face at Sam’s. Our hearts are broken and we’re sickened over this.”
Friends and community members reacted to the news online, with one Twitter user writing that the news was “sad and truly unfortunate.”
The news about Achim Bailey is sad and truly unfortunate. Springfield is a small place and I feel like we all have our own stories and experiences with the young brother. Many prayers and condolences to his family.
— Quest ???????? (@QuestLando) March 16, 2019
Prior to the death being confirmed, close friend Dion Moore-Kelly told Western Mass News that Bailey “has a heart of gold.”
“He is honestly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I could be at my lowest and he would always pick me right back up. A kind soul,” he added.
Another friend, Jaquan Hicks, said: “I feel like his character speaks for itself. Even in this cold, he would give me the shirt off his back just to make sure someone else is warm.”
Close friends reminisce about Achim Bailey nine weeks after disappearance https://t.co/wTMu5q5LN7
— Western MA News (@WesternMAnews) March 18, 2019
Over 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Many of the missing adults and children are found safe but others are never found or are found dead.
“It is estimated that 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year, with approximately 1,000 of those bodies remaining unidentified after one year,” the center stated. As of Jan. 22, there were 15,325 open missing person cases in addition to 12,449 open unidentified person cases.
As of Dec. 31, 2017, the National Crime Information Center had over 88,000 active missing person cases across the country. But hundreds of thousands of cases were resolved that year. Approximately 651,000 missing person records were entered but about the same number were removed.
“Reasons for these removals include: a law enforcement agency located the subject, the individual returned home, or the record had to be removed by the entering agency due to a determination that the record is invalid,” the center stated.
The first 72 hours in a missing person’s case is the most critical, according to criminology experts. That’s partly because investigators have the best chance of following up on leads before people’s memories start to fade, Dr. Bryanna Fox, former FBI agent and criminology professor at the University of South Florida, told ABC News.
“The information that law enforcement gets tends to be a little more accurate, and they are able to act on the information and hopefully get that person who is missing quicker,” Fox said. Later, there are fewer “bread crumbs,” or leads, to follow.
Dr. Michelle Jeanis, a criminology professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said that time is of the essence because the missing person could be in danger. After about a week, the person could very likely be dead, said former FBI Special Agent in Charge Steve Gomez.
“There’s a certain point after about a week or two where you have to think, the potential that the missing person is dead and now it’s a matter of trying to find their body and bring closure to the family and to determine if you now have a homicide investigation, or suicide, or some kind of accidental death,” he said.