Body found in river near where 65-year-old man disappeared

Keith Pereau last seen July 15

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. – A body was found Friday in the St. Johns River near the Doctors Lake Bridge, around the area where a 65-year-old man disappeared early last week, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office. 

Deputies said the body has not been identified, but a neighbor found the body near where Keith Edward Pereau was last seen July 15.

"It's shocking," said John Miller, who lives in the area. "I've never seen anything like this happen before."

The body will be sent to the medical examiner's office in Jacksonville to determine the cause of death and identity. Until then, deputies said, they will continue to search for Pereau.

River Avenue at Fleming Street was blocked off Friday afternoon as deputies investigated.

When News4Jax called one of Pereau's sons, he declined to comment about Friday's discovery.


According to investigators, Pereau left by boat from his dock in the early-evening hours of July 15 with his girlfriend and her family.

When the boat returned to dock later that night, Pereau was on the boat, investigators said.

After interviewing everyone close to him, investigators said they determined it was Pereau's girlfriend who last saw him about 6:30 p.m. July 15, after the boat docked at his house. 

The initial missing persons release sent Tuesday morning said Pereau had last been seen Monday morning near Clay Street in Fleming Island. But that changed after deputies did further interviews.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the boat ride. Deputies said there were few clues in Pereau's disappearance, only saying he wasn't alone in the boat and the boat was found somewhere.

"We have no stray boat. We have no abandoned vehicles," Sgt. Chris Padgett said last week. "We don’t have things of that nature that would say he was driving down the road and broke down and disappeared or a boat that’s capsized in the river."

As of late last week, the Sheriff's Office said, there had been no evidence of foul play found in the search for Pereau. Deputies also said everyone close to Pereau had been cooperating.

Pereau's sons were assisting in the search for their father, both on land and on the water. They put up posters around the Fleming Island community and searched miles of the St. Johns River by boat.

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