The search for a body reported floating face down in the Walnut River on Monday has been called off. 

County Sheriff David Falletti said Tuesday that there are no plans to continue that search after receiving conflicting information about whether a drowning incident had actually occurred.

“No additional information has been made available as to whether it was a real claim or not,” he said.

Falletti said that the initial report came from the Butler County Sherriff’s office after someone said they saw a body of a Black man in the river.

“Then there was a rumor down south that there was a body, and it just turned into a big deal,” he said.

First responders, including from the Arkansas City Fire Department, launched a boat into the river at Walnut Park in Arkansas City and searched downriver, traveling at least as far as IXL Road south of town.

Ark City Fire Marshal Chet Ranzau said both Ark City and Winfield fire departments had boats in the water. The Kansas boats traveled two to three miles south into Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Kay County Sheriff also sent out boats.
Ranzau said that his department was dispatched at at 1:30 p.m. and the search continued until 4:30 p.m.

Detectives from Butler County contacted Falletti on Monday after the search began and said that they were getting conflicting information from the individual who made the report.

“They were not sure about the validity of the statements made by this person,” he said.

Falletti said that individual could possibly face charges in Butler County.

Calls to the Butler County Sheriff on Tuesday were not returned.

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