Man missing after crash found dead in aqueduct

Posted at 7:13 AM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 16:44:00-05

Gila River Police Department says the body of a man missing after a deadly crash has been recovered in an irrigation system.

James Stafford was reported missing after his car was found crashed near 79th Avenue and Baseline Road on Feb. 7. His girlfriend was killed in the crash and her body was found 100 feet from the site. Stafford was nowhere to be found.

For weeks his family was searching for answers on his whereabouts. He was last seen with his girlfriend on the day of the crash, but they didn't know whether he was even in the car at the time. If he was, they didn't know if he survived or if he ran off after the crash.

Police say they were notified Wednesday afternoon about a possible body located in an underground aqueduct, about 1,200 feet from the crash scene.

The water for the irrigation system had been previously turned off, but was just turned back on Wednesday, police say.

Officials identified the body as Stafford.

There is no word yet on how he got into the irrigation system or what happened after the crash.