Man missing since February identified as body found in Thermalito Forebay

Update: CHP is continuing to investigate to determine the circumstances that caused Martin's vehicle to leave the roadway.

Posted: Mar 8, 2020 3:51 PM
Updated: Mar 12, 2020 8:17 AM

Update: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - A man found in the Thermalito Forebay on Sunday has been identified as a missing man last seen on Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 2, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

Officials say on Sunday, March 8, the body was found and appeared to be have been in the water for "an extended period of time".

During an investigation, glass was found on the body and based on information gathered, detectives say they believed the person was possibly involved in some type of collision prior to his death.

The sheriff's office and State Park officials immediately began searching the Forebay and surrounding waterway for evidence of the collision.

On March 10, State Park officials say they found tire tracks and a bent fence, giving them reason to believe a vehicle had possibly driven through the fence and landed in a canal east of the Forebay.

Looking in a boat with sonar technology, officials say they found an unoccupied vehicle at the bottom of the canal.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office, State Parks and CHP all worked together on March 11 to recover the vehicle.

Robert Martin of Oroville was the last known person to have ownership of the vehicle, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office. A DNA sample was obtained by a relative of Martin and the office was able to positively identify the body as Martin.

Family members told officials the 63-year-old had been missing since early February when he was driving home to Oroville from Chico.

CHP is continuing to investigate to determine the circumstances that caused Martin's vehicle to leave the roadway.

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OROVILLE, Calif.- A couple kayaking in Thermalito Forebay in Oroville found a body lying facedown in the water. They reported it to officials who arrived on the scene to investigate. 

It happened Sunday, March 8 at approximately 2 p.m. when a couple from Chico was kayaking in Thermalito Forebay when they spotted a body floating face down in the water. They contacted officials who arrived on the scene to recover the body. 

Cal Fire responded to the scene as well as Butte County Sheriffs and California State Park Officials. 

Action News Now reporter Kristian Lopez was live at the scene and spoke to the couple as well as officials. She was able to speak to officials who say the body was a male and appeared to have been there a while. 

The cause of death is currently under investigation. Action News Now will update this story as soon as more information becomes available. 

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