Boaters recount finding body of missing National Guardsman - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Boaters recount finding body of missing National Guardsman


A group of boaters who found the body of a young National Guardsman Saturday night hope the discovery can provide closure for his family.

After two full days of searching, search crews recovered the body of 22-year-old Desmond Desdunes, who jumped into the Red River late Thursday night with another guardsman, who survived.

The boaters who made the discovery found Desdunes' body in the middle of the water about 100 yards behind the office of the Caddo Parish Sheriff's marine unit.

Charlie Neff, his girlfriend Sarah Melarangi, and their two friends, were out

taking Neff's boat out for a test-run, but realized something was wrong, keeping it from going fast.

With a slow moving boat, they decided to wait out the boat traffic and didn't head back up the river until around 10 p.m. That's when they saw something floating in the water.

"We got real close," Neff said. "We put the light on it and realized it was an actual person."

They immediately called authorities and quickly realized who they might be looking at.

"This guy is in camouflage, I bet this is the guy they've been looking for the last couple of days on the river," Neff reflected on what was going through his mind at the time.

With a spotlight on the body, they floated alongside it, until the marine unit could arrive.

"It wouldn't be right just to leave him out there, you couldn't do that, it wasn't an option," Neff said.

While their discovery isn't something they wanted to come across, they hope it brings closure to a family mourning the loss of one of their own.

"It feels good to know they can give him a proper burial and his military family isn't searching for him anymore and everyone has closure about where he is and what happened to him," said Melarangi.

Both Neff and Melarangi believe, had their boat been working right and going it's typical speed, they would have never noticed anything in the water.

"I think it is a calling my boat messed up yesterday, you know as sad as the story is, it's an end to it so that's good," said Neff.

An end, Neff hopes, that can begin the healing process.

Copyright 2014 KSLA. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly