Chicagoan's Body Found in DC Tidal Basin

Family says Sarath Potharaju excused himself to use a restroom and never returned

Friday, Apr 12, 2013  |  Updated 10:11 PM CDT
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Body of Sarath Potharaju was found Thursday after 11 days of searching. Rog Elgas reports.

Body of Sarath Potharaju was found Thursday after 11 days of searching. Rog Elgas reports.

A body found floating in Washington, D.C.'s Tidal Basin near the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial is that of a Chicago tourist who went missing on Easter Sunday while visiting the nation's capital with relatives, officials said.

The body of 35-year-old Sarath Potharaju was found early Thursday. Police did not know how he ended up in the water but said there were no signs of trauma.

Officers said Friday night that the cause of death hadn't been determined.

Potharaju's family said that while touring near the FDR memorial on March 31, Potharaju excused himself to use a restroom and never returned.

During the search for him, family members found his rental car where he parked it near D.C's Old Post Office Pavilion. They noted there'd been no activity on Potharaju's cell phone or credit cards.

Potharaju's uncles told Washington, D.C NBC station WRC that the body will be flown to India, where his mother wants a chance to see him one more time.

Potharaju's body was the second to be found in water within a week. A fisherman found the body of another man Saturday morning in the Potomac River between Independence Avenue and Ohio Drive, near a path used by some people seeking to view the cherry blossoms. That man was identified as as Robert Groshan, 63, of Northwest D.C.

Police have not confirmed if the two incidents are connected.

Each spring, cherry blossoms that surround the tidal basin and the Jefferson Memorial draw about 1 million visitors.

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