Skiers discover body in the river
THE WOODBURN community has started the new year in mourning once again after the drowning of local man Ashley Butler.
Almost a year to the day of the tragic death of local boy Chase Mason in a car accident at Tabbimoble, Ashley's body was discovered on Monday on the north side of the Richmond River by local water-skiers.
According to police reports, Ashley was last seen at the Rod n Reel Hotel at Woodburn about midnight on New Year's Eve.
When he didn't show up for work the next day, a missing persons' report was issued.
At 10am on Monday police received a call from Mr Butler's employer, the owner of the Riverview Cafe at Woodburn, Rob Duncan, and the young man's body was retrieved less than an hour later.
"I got a call from (the local skiers) who told me straight away they'd found Ash," Mr Duncan said.
Friends and co-workers who gathered at the cafe were devastated by the news.
"(When we got the news) these guys crashed, hit the floor but picked themselves up," Mr Duncan said.
"When I rang a few of them who were having a day off, they straight away wanted to come in.
"We are incredibly busy but they are working really hard."
Mr Duncan said Ashley was a great employee as well as a friend.
"Ash had that real desire to do everything right," Mr Duncan said.
"He worked hard and everyone who worked with him really liked him.
"He also loved his little girl Sophie."
Lismore Police Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe urged members of the public to come forward with any information about Mr Butler's final movements.
"We are not treating the death as suspicious," he said.
"We are waiting on results of the post-mortem and toxicology results."
The body was taken to Lismore Base Hospital where it was formally identified by the family.