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Remains found floating in Smith River in Henry County identified as missing man

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

HENRY COUNTY, VA – Henry County authorities have identified the man found dead in the Smith River in October.

On October 29 at 11:13 a.m., a motorist called the 911 communications center and reported seeing a body floating face down under the bridge at Daniels Creek Road and River Road in Henry County.

The caller followed the body until it became entangled in a tree along side River Road.

According to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, it appeared the body had been in the river for over 24 hours.

Through the use of DNA analysis, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke positively identified the remains as Edward Harrison Ariail, 67, of Abberton Way in High Point, North Carolina.

He was previously diagnosed with dementia.

Ariail had last been seen on October 23 and was reported missing by his family to the High Point Police Department, which issued a Silver Alert for him.

Deputies found his vehicle in the 2700 block of Fairystone Park Highway in Bassett.

The sheriff's office says there were no apparent signs of foul play or murder and that the completed autopsy report is pending additional testing.

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