Police at the scene where the body of a man was recovered from the Richmond River at Woodburn.
Police at the scene where the body of a man was recovered from the Richmond River at Woodburn. Blainey Woodham

Body of man found in river

POLICE have released the name of a 21-year-old man whose body was found floating in the Richmond River at Woodburn yesterday morning.

Ashley Gary Butler from Woodburn had been reported missing and was last seen at the Rod and Reel Hotel at midnight on New Year's Eve.

A group of young, local water-skiers made the grim discovery about 10m from the north bank near Woodburn Bridge opposite the shops at around 10am yesterday.

"We were just coming back down the river when we saw it - at first we though it was a log," said Jacquelin Robson.

"The Woodburn police got here in about five minutes and Kyle took them up there in the boat and they confirmed the find and waited for forensics."

Kyle Rees, who owns the ski boat, said they were used to finding objects in the river and kept a constant eye out for logs and livestock that could be a hazard to skiers.

"You're always watching from the boat and pointing to the skier," he said.

"We're all a bit shaken up, my brother worked with him."

Richmond Local Area Command duty officer, Inspector Matt Kehoe, said police received a call about 10.15am.

"Police from the Richmond command along with detectives and the Forensic Services Group, and with assistance from the Woodburn State Emergency Service, attended where the body of a young male was recovered from the water," he said.

"We were notified by locals who were out on the water and sighted the body not far from the main CBD of Woodburn."

Insp Kehoe said police were not certain how the man came to be in the river.

He said a report would be prepared for the coroner but there were no suspicious circumstances at this stage.

Police have appealed for anyone who has information on the movements of Mr Butler up to or after midnight on Saturday night to contact Lismore detectives on 6626 0599, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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