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Body recovered in Chowan

BERTIE COUNTY – Law enforcement officials have determined the cause of death of a Chowan County man found floating in the Chowan River this past weekend.

Fleetwood “Buddy” Harrell, 56, of Tyner, was discovered floating in the Chowan River near Lawrence’s Point Friday evening around 9:45-10 p.m. after he was reported missing by family members and an extensive search had been launched.

Relatives say Harrell left his home sometime early Friday morning to go crabbing along the Chowan. When he did not return by early evening, family members notified authorities around 8:30 p.m. and a search commenced to locate his whereabouts.

Several law enforcement agencies joined forces in the search. In addition to personnel from Bertie County Sheriff’s Office, five boats with the Chowan County Sheriff’s Office, two more from North Carolina Wildlife Resources, and another two boats from NC Marine Fisheries all assisted with the rescue/recovery effort.

A helicopter was also dispatched from the U.S. Coast Guard station in Elizabeth City.

Harrell’s fishing boat was first discovered, washed up into some scrub trees in shallow water along the shoreline partially raised out of the water; and his body was found floating nearby.

An investigation into the cause of death was launched, and late Wednesday afternoon the Medical Examiner’s office released their finding that the cause of death was ‘natural causes’.

Harrell was known to suffer from several health-related issues.