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Body found in Smith River in Henry County identified as missing N.C. man

He was last seen about a week before his body was found.

The Henry County Sheriff, Lane Perry, told 10 News that crews found a man’s body in the river in connection to the swift water rescue.
The Henry County Sheriff, Lane Perry, told 10 News that crews found a man’s body in the river in connection to the swift water rescue.

FIELDALE, Va.UPDATE - 6:16 p.m. Dec. 01, 2020

Authorities have identified the man found dead in the Smith River in late October.

Edward Harrison Ariail, of High Point, North Carolina, was last seen on Oct. 23 before being found dead on Oct. 29.

The 67-year-old suffered from dementia and the High Point Police Department had issued a Silver Alert for him.

Henry County Sheriff’s Office deputies found his car in the 2700 block of Fairystone Park Highway in Bassett.

The preliminary autopsy results showed no apparent signs of foul play or homicide, according to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

The completed autopsy report is pending additional testing.


UPDATE - 4:53 p.m. Oct. 29, 2020

The Henry County Sheriff, Lane Perry, told 10 News that crews found a man’s body in the river in connection to the swift water rescue Thursday afternoon.

At about 11:13 a.m., Perry said the Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call that someone saw a body floating down the Smith River.

The caller first observed the body floating under the bridge located at Daniels Creek Road and River Road and followed the body until it became entangled in a tree along River Road, according to authorities.

According to authorities, it took crews about 30 minutes to get the body to shore.

Perry said the condition of the body suggests that it had been in the water for at least a day.

The body was recovered from the river by an off-duty Patrick County Auxiliary Deputy and swift-water rescue teams from the Ridgeway District Rescue Squad and Fieldale Volunteer Fire Department.

The sheriff said that the main goal is to identify the body and that it did not match up with any missing person’s reports from either Henry or Franklin County.

The circumstances of how the body got into the river remain under investigation and it was sent to the medical examiner for an autopsy.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751.


UPDATE - 1:07 p.m. Oct. 29, 2020

10 News is still on the scene in Fieldale Thursday afternoon.

Around 12:55 p.m., the Henry County Crime Investigation truck is now at the scene and the rescue squad is leaving.

Stay with 10 News for more on this breaking story.

Swift water rescue scene in Henry County along Smith River on Oct. 29, 2020 (WSLS 10)

ORIGINAL STORY - 12:23 p.m. Oct. 29, 2020

A swift water rescue is underway in Henry County Thursday afternoon.

10 News was on the scene near the Smith River in Fieldale, but only Fire-EMS and ambulances were allowed to go any further towards the river.

The roads were blocked off near River Road by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities are still on the job locating and getting the person out of the water.

The rescue is still in progress.


About the Authors:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.