Body found near search zone for missing man in Dayton area

This remote area off of Private Road 442 in the Westlake community is where a fisherman found a body on Sunday.

Authorities have recovered a body in the area where a Baytown man went missing last week. The body was found Sunday by a fisherman who was looking for a place to camp, according to Capt. Ken DeFoor, a spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

While it appears the body may belong to the missing man, DeFoor said a positive confirmation will be made through an autopsy in Beaumont this week.

The body was discovered at the end of Private Road 442 near a tributary that feeds into the Trinity River. The area is swampy and difficult to reach by vehicle, so sheriff’s investigators had to trek further by foot.

This remote area off of Private Road 442 in the Westlake community is where a fisherman found a body on Sunday.

LCSO Capt. Billy Knox said the body has no obvious signs of trauma other than a small mark on the man’s head.

Nathan Heathco, 22, of Baytown, has been missing since Tuesday, Jan. 12, after crashing his car on FM 1409, just a short distance from Private Road 442. He reportedly was on his way to visit friends in the area early Tuesday morning when the single-vehicle accident occurred. He was spotted on surveillance video cameras at ESD 3 (Westlake Fire Station) walking away from the crash scene toward a convenience store, where he milled about for a few moments before walking out of the view of the cameras.

When deputies arrived at the crash scene Tuesday, Heathco could not be located. His phone was found inside his vehicle.

On Friday, around 30 or so volunteers for Texas EquuSearch conducted an extensive search of the immediate area where he disappeared, but had no luck finding him. They searched areas not far from where the body was found on Sunday.

Once a positive identification is confirmed, an update will be posted. The relatives of Heathco have been notified by authorities, Knox said.

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