CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) - The Chesterfield Fire Department recovered a second body from the Appomattox River, in the search for a missing VSU student. Positive identification of the body has not been made.
WWBT-TV in Richmond is reporting the body was pulled from the river around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday morning and transported to the Medical Examiner's office.
This is breaking news. Stay with WAVY News 10 on air and online for updates.
Officials say the body of missing Virginia State University student Marvell Edmondson was recovered Monday.
Chesterfield County rescue crews and State Police continue to search for Jauwan Holmes.
Holmes, 19, of Williamsburg, and Edmondson, 19, of Portsmouth, were last seen Saturday around 1:30 a.m. in the Appomattox River.
According to NBC affiliate WWBT out of Richmond, Holmes and Edmondson were part of a group, trying to cross the river in a human chain.
One witness, who linked arms with the missing students, said the river crossing was the culmination of a week-long hazing process.
"We went in the water at 12 at night and we walked in as a line," said Christian Cavazos, a VSU student. "It was a part of a pledging. That was our last night. We went in thinking, like they told us, that if we stayed on this path, like this path of rocks in the water, they said it would never go higher than the chest."
Cavazos remembers the moment when the water went higher than expected and the current took some of the students down the river.
"When I saw Jauwan, I picked him up," said Cavazos.
"But, I was so tired from swimming, he slipped out of my hand and I couldn't get to him again. He was the main one panicking, but I still seen him above the water. The same thing with Marvell, like he was swimming, but that's when I landed on the pillar on the other side of the river. I was the only one that made it to the other side of the river."
Cavazos said he and the other students were pledging a group called "Men of Honor." Virginia State University officials say the group is not a school sanctioned organization, and never has been.
University officials released the following statement:
"Virginia State University regrets to inform our community that two VSU freshmen, Jauwan Holmes and Marvell Edmondson, have been reported missing following an incident at the Appomattox River in Petersburg, Virginia. Chesterfield County is leading the investigation and recovery effort, with assistance from Colonial Heights, the Virginia State Police and the VSU Department of Police and Public Safety. We are unable to provide any additional information at this time, but will give updates as verifiable developments occur. Additionally, individual and group counseling sessions will be available for students beginning Monday, April 22 at 9:00 a.m. in Foster Hall, room 200."
Holmes was a graduate of Bruton High School in Williamsburg, where he ran track and field. Edmondson graduated from Churchland High School in Portsmouth last year. His disappearance was a big topic of conversation among his high school friends Monday.
"He was good to everybody," said Keon Ray, who played football with Edmondson. "He was never that person that would be like I'm not going to help you because I start, he was always the person who was going to be there for you."
Ray, like many others, is watching the Internet closely, hoping for good news, hoping for a miracle.
"A lot of people are saying he might be dead, but I still pray that he's alright," he said.
Anyone with information that could help should call the Chesterfield County Police at (804) 748-125 or the VSU Department of Police and Public Safety at (804) 524-5411.
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