Sirens & Gavels

Body in river identifed as missing man

Michonda Weaver, center, talks about her boyfriend and waits for word of what happened to  Leighton  Welch, while two of her children Elijah, left, and Zackahriha (cq) have a snack in their South Hill apartment Tuesday, April 6, 2011. Weaver said she was talking to  Leighton  Welch on the phone a week ago when it sounded like he fell or dropped the phone and that was the last she has heard of him. Two of her three children are his and she can't conceive of why he would disappear like he has.  (JESSE TINSLEY jesset@spokesman.com)
Michonda Weaver, center, talks about her boyfriend and waits for word of what happened to Leighton Welch, while two of her children Elijah, left, and Zackahriha (cq) have a snack in their South Hill apartment Tuesday, April 6, 2011. Weaver said she was talking to Leighton Welch on the phone a week ago when it sounded like he fell or dropped the phone and that was the last she has heard of him. Two of her three children are his and she can't conceive of why he would disappear like he has. (JESSE TINSLEY jesset@spokesman.com)

Michonda Weaver, center, waits for word of what happened to Leighton Welch, while two of her children Elijah, left, and Zackahriha have a snack in their South Hill apartment April 6. Welch's body was recovered from the Spokane River last Thursday. (Jesse Tinsley/SR)

A body found in the Spokane River on Thursday has been identified as a Coeur d’Alene tribal member missing since a phone call with his girlfriend ended abruptly in March.

An autopsy by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Leighton L. Welch, 35, drowned, the Spokane Police Department confirmed Friday.

His body was pulled from the river close to the Stevens County line and near the Nine Mile boat launch, police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said.

Welch’s girlfriend, Michonda Weaver, said she was talking to him via cellphone on March 28 when he described a steep cliff and said he’d been spooked by a pit bull in the area.

The phone went dead after a crash and a scream, Weaver said.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

April 6: Spokane man's disappearance a mystery




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