Tuscumbia man's body found under bridge, foul play suspected

Tuscumbia man's body found under bridge, foul play suspected

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The body found under the bridge was confirmed as Rutland by the coroner Friday. The body found under the bridge was confirmed as Rutland by the coroner Friday.
Passers-by discovered blood on the Old Railroad Bridge and contacted Sheffield Police. Passers-by discovered blood on the Old Railroad Bridge and contacted Sheffield Police.
Divers searched the waters underneath the bridge. Divers searched the waters underneath the bridge.
SHEFFIELD, AL (WAFF) -

Authorities have confirmed the body found in the waters underneath the Old Railroad Bridge in Sheffield Friday is that of Brioni Rutland of Tuscumbia.

Sheffield and Tuscumbia police spent Friday investigating a crime scene at the bridge, which spans the Tennessee River.

Authorities said that the amount of blood found in the area led police to launch the investigation.

Sheffield Police said they were contacted when people walking on the bridge said they saw a lot of blood near the middle of the bridge.

Police said rescue divers prepared at 10 a.m. to start searching the area..

Officers had considered the possibility early on that this was related to the disappearance of Brioni Rutland. Rutland was last seen on Tuesday. Police reported that his vehicle was found in Sheffield on Thursday and sources say his wallet and cell phone were found in a Florence sewer.

"There are no other persons in the Shoals that have been reported missing, and if this is a crime scene, we feel like it may be related to our missing person," Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan had said earlier in the day.

Brioni Rutland is listed on the Deshler School website as a volunteer football coach. He starred on the Deshler team as a player. In fact, he ran a kickoff back 88 yards for a touchdown in the 2003 State Championship game, where Deshler came up just short against Trinity. He went on to play for UNA.

Those close to Rutland spoke to WAFF Friday afternoon before the body was found. They had said they were still holding out hope and wanted closure either way. His girlfriend, Morgan Presley, said 'Bree,' as he was known by, had a 7-year-old son.

"We are just trying to cope the best we can and we are praying to get through this. Tragedy hits a lot of people, but it's different when it's at home," said Rutland's aunt, Rosita Hurley.

Late Friday evening, the coroner confirmed the body pulled from the water was that of Brioni Rutland. 

The coroner said foul play is suspected in this case. A cause has not yet been determined; Rutland's body has been sent out for an autopsy.

Later Friday night, Florence Police served a search warrant to collect evidence from a home on Hawthorne Street. The home is located near an area where police had earlier found Rutland's cell phone and wallet.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.
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