Body Found In The Spokane River - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Body Found In The Spokane River Identified

SPOKANE, Wash. -The mystery of a local man's disappearance has come to an end. Spokane Police confirmed Friday, 36-year-old Leighton Welch drowned in the Spokane River.

He'd been missing since late March but on Thursday afternoon police reported that they recovered a body from the river.

A phone call Welch made to his fiance, Michonda Weaver, may give more details about what actually happened. Welch was talking on his cell phone to Weaver while he was taking a walk in Spokane. While on the phone, Weaver said Welch described a steep cliff, then said he'd been spooked by a pit bull in the area.

Then Weaver said, she heard a crash and a scream before the phone went dead.

That was March 28.

In the weeks after, his family traveled from Moses Lake and western Washington to canvass the area to find him but Welch had not been heard from since.

 He had one child with Weaver and another he cared for with his fiance.

Welch was a member of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and received tribal money for school, Weaver said. He was studying social work at Spokane Falls Community College. He was set to enroll at Eastern Washington University in the fall and planned to be a drug and alcohol counselor. Weaver also said he spoke at drug rehab centers in Spokane and helped lead an Alcoholics Anonymous group.

KHQ spoke with Weaver in April about her fiance's disappearance. Back then, she told us that she believed Welch was just laying low and talked about how much his kids loved him.

"I'm hoping that him seeing the kids will make him realize that these kids do need him and he - and everybody knows that he loves his kids," she said in her previous interview. "He talks about these kids all the time and he these kids are part of his life."

KHQ did try to find out the time that Welch died but the Spokane Medical Examiner did not have that information.

KHQ did reach out to his family as well as fiance again Friday. We did not hear back.

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