Body found in Cedar River, believed to be missing boater

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LINN COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Officials discovered a body in the Cedar River this afternoon after a multi-day search for a missing boater.

Emergency responders at Palisades-Kepler State Park in Linn County on Sunday, July 7, 2019 (Rebecca Phelps/KCRG)

Linn County Sheriff's Office search teams, along with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, recovered a body of a white male in the Cedar River this afternoon. It was found around two miles south of the Palisades-Kepler State Park boat ramp.

Officials believe this body to be that of Ricky Veenstra, 59, of Cedar Rapids, who had been missing since Sunday morning. Positive identification of the body will need to be done by the Iowa Medical Examiner.

Veenstra was an employee at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids where he worked as the lead building engineer.

"The entire WHS community and those throughout our school district who knew Rick Veenstra are grateful to the search and rescue personnel for locating him and bringing some closure for the family," Akwi Nji, Director of Communications for the Cedar Rapids Community School District, said, in a statement. "For those who knew Rick personally, he touched every facet of our school from helping prepare for every event (academic, athletic, etc.,) and was an active and lively participant in building positive Washington Warrior culture. Mr. Veenstra's warm smile and enthusiasm to befriend all who came through Washington High School or crossed his path will be greatly missed. The Washington family is collectively grieving at this time and we extend our deepest sympathy and support to Mr. Veenstra’s family."

The body has been taken to the medical examiner's office in Ankeny for an autopsy.