Courtesy of WUSA-TV
The Fairfax County police officer was "playing a role" in a helicopter and dive team search exercise in Pohick Bay when he went missing last Tuesday.
LORTON, Va. -- Divers recovered the body of a missing Fairfax County police officer four days after Lt. Frank Stecco disappeared in the murky waters of Pohick Bay.
The body was found around 12:30 pm just 100 yards from the spot where Stecco was last seen on Tuesday. The 19-year police veteran was volunteering to be the victim during a police training exercise, designed for the police helicopter unit in the bay.
"I was here in the park this morning when he was recovered," said Col. David Rohrer, chief of the Fairfax County Police Department. "I left immediately and I went to meet with the family and I ask that you continue to respect their privacy and send your thoughts and prayers out to them. This is an investigation we have to complete. I have no further details but I will say however, that in spite of the investigation, we are treating our fallen officer with the respect and the honor that he is due."
After days of round-the-clock search using sonar technology and the assistance of 10 other jurisdictions including the FBI, officers decided to send diving teams to search by grid using their hands. Divers recovered the body in what they describe as frustrating conditions.
"Just to help you understand that water is very murky," said Mary Ann Jennings, director of public information for Fairfax County police. "There is about a foot or less visibility there. One of the divers told us imagine throwing a quarter on a football field and then trying by hand to find it. That's basically what they were having to do down there."
Stecco's body was taken to the medical examiner via a police procession. His family visited the site in the same fashion. The police department is planning an event when the public will be able to pay its respects.
"Let me just say that my heart goes out to the family of our fallen officer," said Col. Rohrer. "My heart goes out to the men and women of the Fairfax County Police Department and my heart goes out to the community who also feel the loss of a dedicated professional officer."
Story from: WUSA-TV