Missing SMU officer's body found in Trinity River

The body of a missing SMU officer was found Wednesday afternoon in the Trinity River near Downtown Dallas.

The Dallas County medical examiner confirmed the body belonged to Mark McCullers, the SMU police officer who was swept into Turtle Creek during a flash flood in early July while working a private security job.

A large number of officials gathered at the scene where the body was found along the Trinity near Oak Lawn Avenue. An SMU police vehicle was among the cars of first responders.

The body was covered with an American flag and officers saluted as it was taken out of the water and loaded into a medical examiner's vehicle.

Dallas police said an SMU supervisor had been routinely searching the area off of Oak Lawn in the Design District, where Turtle Creek feeds into the Trinity River. The supervisor had been searching for weeks for McCullers’ body, often using drones.

“He came by himself he noticed something unusual, which was that large debris,” said Major Jimmy Vaughan, with the Dallas Police Department. “When he walked over there, he saw something unusual and found human remains.”

Dallas Fire-Rescue searched Turtle Creek for McCullers’ body for nearly two weeks before turning the search over to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

At the time, Tiffany McCullers told FOX 4 she had been consumed by the media coverage of the incident, watching on TV as police divers pulled her husband’s car out of the water, but couldn’t find him.

McCullers’ wife said her only hope was that her husband's body would soon be found. More than a month later, a family member said the discovery is bittersweet.

The family released the following statement:

“We want to especially thank the SMU Police Department knowing that they continued to search everyday. While we are happy to know that Mark has now come home and he will be laid to rest with the honor he deserves at the National Cemetery.”

“She knew we were out there,” said SMU Police Chief Rick Shafer. “And we told her, ‘Tiffany, we're never going to give up until we find him.’”

Chief Shafer is thankful to have now confirmed the recovery is that of one of his own and found by one of his own.  

"Didn't really matter who found him, but it sure felt good that his supervisor himself found him,” the chief said. “I don't know. It made me feel especially exuberant about it and overjoyed.”

McCullers was remembered by fellow officers at an on-campus memorial service on July 28.

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