Missing man's body found
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
May 9, 2014, 14:50
BLAKE BELDEN/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Police closed off Fort Clifton Park in Colonial Heights on Thursday and Friday as they searched for a missing man.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — After a massive search, authorities located the body of a missing 69-year-old Colonial Heights man who was last seen walking toward Fort Clifton Park.
The body of Michael Romanic was found Friday, and he had been missing since Thursday morning, according to the Colonial Heights Police Department.
“Romanic was located along the Appomattox River a short distance north of Fort Clifton” through the use of a trained dog who can track scent on land and water, according to Sgt. Rob Ruxer with the police department.
Romanic was last seen by his family at his residence at 9 a.m. on Thursday, and a witness said Romanic was seen walking down Brockwell Lane toward Fort Clifton Park at approximately 10:45 a.m., Ruxer said.
When Romanic’s wife returned home from a doctor’s appointment to find him gone, authorities began a search for the man around 2 p.m. on Thursday, Ruxer said.
Romanic was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, in addition to having diabetes and heart issues, according to the police.
Numerous search groups aided in the investigation, which ran through Thursday night, including several K-9 search and rescue teams and the Virginia State Police, who brought in a helicopter overnight to help with the search.
Chesterfield County and Virginia State Police dive teams and the Colonial Heights Scuba Rescue were on scene Friday afternoon to help search in the Appomattox River, which runs along the back end of Fort Clifton Park.
“We’re spending all the resources we have,” Ruxer said on Friday afternoon.
Ruxer also said that authorities have “been through this park dozens of times.”
Katy Brown, who knew Romanic from her time working at Books-A-Million in Colonial Heights, said that he would often come in to drink coffee and read the newspaper, and was shocked when she learned that he had gone missing.
“He is such a nice guy and it’s such a terrible thing. I hope they find him safely, and we’re just ... praying for him,” Brown said on Friday afternoon while authorities were still searching for Romanic.
Ruxer said that Romanic was transported to the Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.
The Fort Clifton Festival continued as scheduled at Fort Clifton Park over the weekend.