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Authorities identify body found along Red River in north Fargo

Fargo (N.D.) firefighters work to free Tony Sang Nguyen's body that was partially underneath a log Saturday night, May 16, 2009 in the Red River in north Fargo, N.D. Nguyen, of Fargo, was last seen March 25. His vehicle was found abandoned on a bridge. (AP Photo/The Forum, Mike Nowatzki)

Police have identified a body found Saturday along the Red River near El Zagal Golf Course in north Fargo as that of a Fargo man missing since March 25.

Tony Sang Nguyen, 78, was last seen at 8 a.m. that day, police said. His vehicle was found abandoned on the Main Avenue Bridge.

Brothers Nick and Nathan Wagner were fishing along the river Saturday evening when they discovered Nguyen's body.

"I go and cast a rod and my line breaks, and I put on another set and then I go and cast somewhere else, and right before I'm about to cast, I look to my right and see a shoe," said Nathan, 18, a student at Fargo South High School.

"And then I look up forward more and there was this ... body sitting there crushed, his leg was crushed under a log," he said.

Police responded at about 8:20 p.m. to the 1400 block of Elm Street, which remains closed between 14th and 15th avenues because of flooding.

Firefighters used chainsaws to cut through the log to free the body.

Officers were able to identify the body as that of Nguyen from his wallet and some other personal belongings found on him, Fargo police Sgt. Mike Mitchell said.

There were no obvious signs of foul play, Sgt. Mike Bernier said. The body was sent to the state medical examiner's office in Bismarck for an autopsy.

When Nguyen's vehicle was found abandoned on the bridge, some of his personal effects were found in the area on the shore of the Red River, police said.

Divers recovered some articles of clothing during an April 4 river search for Nguyen's body, but police wouldn't say if the clothing belonged to him.

The man found Saturday had on overalls, a shirt and boots, according to Bernier and the Wagner brothers.

"I just hope that if there was a family out there worried right now that we got that worry off their chest, some closure," Nathan Wagner said.

Nguyen went missing three days before the Red River at Fargo-Moorhead crested at a record level of 40.82 feet. The river level Saturday evening was about 18.5 feet, or 6 inches above flood stage.