COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — The search for a missing Coventry man came to a heartbreaking end on Tuesday.
According to the family of John Benevides, the 46-year-old’s body was recovered by volunteers after more than a week of searching. Coventry police said there were no signs of foul play.
Benevides was reported missing back on June 17.
His niece, Amanda Benevides, led a search-and-rescue mission Tuesday around the Pawtuxet River in hopes of finding her uncle. She said his body was found along the riverbank, “close to home,” by volunteer Bill McIntosh.
Some of the volunteers were friends, but just as many were total strangers.
“I’m a cashier at a drug store that he visits a lot and I usually see him every morning and I haven’t seen him in 12 days,” said Beth Cocozza.
Joshua Machado, who lives in Coventry, said he didn’t know Benevides but wanted to help the family.
“I heard this morning that there was somebody missing in the river,” he said. “I’m used to the river. I took my kayak and my goggles, I figured I’d hop in the river. I just felt bad.”
Ron Surrell traveled from Canterbury, Connecticut, just to help.
“It’s concerning when it’s 12 days and you don’t have no leads, no signs, no nothing,” Surrell said.
The group searched for hours and not even sporadic rain showers slowed them down.
Family and friends said Benevides had just found out he had cancer and were worried about how he was handling the news.
Amanda Benevides said she has been comforted by the kindness of others, especially the strangers who came to help search for her uncle.
Police said the state Medical Examiner’s office will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of Benevides’ death.