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Body may be missing hunter

ALBANY -- An Albany man who disappeared a few days before Christmas while duck hunting on Lake Seminole may have been discovered Sunday in Florida by search and rescue teams who were searching for another missing person, said Florida wildlife officials.

An autopsy on the body, which is believed to be that of John Mark Slappey, 34, was performed Monday at 9 a.m. in Tallahassee, Fla., Stan Kirkland, regional spokesman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), said.

"The medical examiner has requested additional medical records from the family, such as dental records to ensure a positive ID," he said.

The identity of the body had not been confirmed by Monday evening.

Kirkland said search and rescue teams from the Chattahoochee (Fla.) Police Department discovered the body around 10 p.m. Sunday while looking for another man who went missing earlier that evening.

Investigators said Robert Lee Bailey, 35, and his father-in-law, Ernest Privett, 48, were on the Apalachicola River to check on their houseboat when the smaller boat they were traveling in capsized.

"They were in an aluminum boat with a 60 horsepower motor and after they were done checking on the houseboat, the other boat sunk and left them out in water," said Kirkland.

Investigators said neither man was wearing a life jacket.

Kirkland said the river has been high and the swift current started to drag the two men down through the river.

"The boat sank about eight miles north of the Highway 20 bridge," he said.

Bailey quickly lost sight of his father-in-law in the water but was able to make it to an embankment, where he climbed up and flagged down a vehicle that was traveling on Highway 20 at 8:47 p.m.

"He (Bailey) told the driver about his father-in-law and the driver called 911," he said.

Bailey was taken to a nearby hospital and was treated for hypothermia.

Kirkland said two search and rescue teams and a helicopter were called in to search for Privett.

"They soon found a body that was floating on the surface," he said.

Investigators said the body looked as though it had been in the water for some time but had no identification with it. Slappey disappeared on Dec. 20.

"It was found 25 miles from the Jim Woodruff Dam," said Kirkland. "A couple of weeks ago a camouflage jacket was found with John Slappey's ID in it."

Investigators are still searching for Privett.