WOONSOCKET – The search for a missing man ended tragically Tuesday when police found his body in the Blackstone River hours after they began looking for him.
The body of Andre Genereux, 61, was found in shallow water at the foot of a boat ramp in River Island Park, less than a half mile from his house at 31 Wilson St.
Two patrol officers spotted Genereux’s body from the Bernon Street Bridge around 2:30 p.m., roughly two hours after police issued a Silver Alert for him.
Genereux suffered a stroke recently and could no longer speak well enough to hold a conversation, police said. He walked with a cane and went for daily treks as part of his therapy.
His wife grew worried and reported Genereux missing when he was late coming home from his rounds.
Police offered no theories about the cause of Genereux’s death or how he might have ended up in the river, but Detective Cmdr. Edward J. Lee Jr. said his body was found in an area that was easily accessible on foot. He said police would wait until an autopsy is conducted by the state medical examiner before making any additional statements about how Genereux died.
“At this point there does not appear to be any evidence of foul play but we’re still going to have to conduct a complete investigation,” said Lee.
Lee wouldn’t say whether police found the cane Genereux uses or elaborate on any other details associated with the discovery of the body.
He said Patrolmen Matthew Oliver and Joseph Zinno saw Genereux’s body as they were passing over the Bernon Street Bridge.
Police blocked off traffic from both ends of the bridge shortly after discovering the body and kept a knot of onlookers a couple of hundred yards from the riverbank. More than a few motorists pulled off the road and stopped to inquire whether police had found the man mentioned in the Silver Alert issued earlier in the day.
A Silver Alert is similar to an Amber Alert, except it’s used by law enforcement when adults – usually senior citizens – go missing instead of children. Using a computer assisted dialing system, police called thousands of city residents who picked up their phones to hear a pre-recorded message asking for help in locating the missing man. His name and photo were also released to the media.