Nevada County authorities ID body found in South Yuba River
Update at 7 p.m. July 22, 2019
Alexander Alvarez worked two jobs to provide for his family.
The Citrus Heights man, whose body was found Sunday in the South Yuba River, supported his wife and three children, as well as his wife’s mother.
“Alex was a really great person,” said Alison Rusine, cousin to Alvarez’s wife, Anekka. “Everyone who met him could see how much he loved his family.
“He’s a really great dad and a really great person,” Rusine added. “It’s a big hole because he did so much.”
Alvarez disappeared in the river on July 13. A group visiting the river on Sunday spotted a body about 200 yards downstream from where witnesses last saw him. Authorities said they recovered the body and used the location on the river, along with its appearance, to identify Alvarez.
“The autopsy has not been performed yet,” Nevada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Jakobs said.
Water flows slowed to 180 cubic feet per second over the weekend, which could have helped the river visitors spot Alvarez, sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kress said.
Alvarez disappeared when the river was moving at 400 cfs. Authorities have said the current caught him and his 12-year-old daughter. The girl was rescued by two people, one of them a State Parks ranger. Two others tried to reach Alvarez, but couldn’t.
The Citrus Heights man is the third person to die this year on the South Yuba River. Sean Manchester, 42, of Nevada City, died in February. Dalton Burgos, 23, of Vacaville, died last month.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
Dozens of swimmers congregated Sunday afternoon at the South Yuba River below the Highway 49 bridge, many happily oblivious as emergency personnel worked to recover a body found downstream.
A lengthy search started July 13 had failed to locate Alexander Alvarez, 34, of Citrus Heights, who disappeared after the river caught him and his 12-year-old daughter between the old and new Highway 49 bridges. Two people — one of them a State Parks ranger — rescued the girl, Nevada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kress has said. Two others tried to reach Alvarez but couldn’t.
On Sunday, a group of four friends discovered a body about a half-mile downstream from the bridge. Nevada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Werner said the body likely wouldn’t be identified Sunday. Officials must identify the body, and notify next of kin, before releasing the name.
DeAnna, who asked that her last name not be used, said she had recently moved to Grass Valley from the Bay Area and brought some friends down to the river to show off its beauty.
The group arrived after 11 a.m. and initially headed upstream to eat their lunch, she said.
“We decided to explore,” DeAnna said, adding they began looking around noon for a safe place to cross the river.
“I could tell it wasn’t safe to go in,” she said, adding she is an experienced swimmer who taught kids for five years. “I was just sitting on a rock and extending my foot into the water.”
As the group rock-hopped downstream, one of her male friends took the lead, before turning around to tell his friends there was a body in the river.
“We thought he was joking,” DeAnna said.
The group hiked back up to the highway but realized they had no cell phone reception. They were able to wave down a truck driver, who gave them cold bottled water and drove far enough out of the canyon to call 911. When emergency personnel arrived, one of the group hiked down with them to guide them to the spot.
“We’re just glad we found him, for his family’s sake,” DeAnna said.
The recovery was being hampered by the steepness of the terrain, about a half-mile downstream of the South Yuba River bridge on Highway 49. At 4 p.m., a landing zone was being secured for a California Highway Patrol helicopter, which was requested to help with transporting the body.
Alvarez has been missing for over a week.
According to Kress, witnesses saw the river carry Alvarez about 400 yards downstream before he went under and didn’t resurface. Volunteers with Nevada County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team responded, scouring the area that weekend with the help of a CHP helicopter. The search was scaled back July 15, and an attempt to locate Alvarez Friday with a drone was unsuccessful.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at email@example.com.
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