Body could be missing scientist’s

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 20, 2001

AP and staff reports

VIDALIA, La. – The body of a man found Thursday in the Mississippi River at Concordia Parish’s hydroelectric plant is thought to be that of a Harvard scientist who was last seen alive in Memphis in mid-November,authorities confirmed.

The identification of Don C. Wiley, 57, of Cambridge, Mass., was found in the man’s pockets, said Kathleen Stevens, a spokesperson for the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office. The body was shipped later Thursday to Memphis, where an autopsy will be performed to positively identify the man.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;There is no immediate indication of foul play, but we’ve turned the case over to the Memphis Police Department, and the FBI has also been notified,&uot; Stevens said.

The body, which workers at the Sidney A. Murray Hydroelectric Station in south Concordia Parish first spotted Thursday morning, was recovered by Wildlife and Fisheries officers and sheriff’s deputies at 12:31 p.m., Stevens said.

Parish Coroner Sarah Lee pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The abandoned rental car of Wiley, a molecular biologist at Harvard, was found Nov. 16 on a Mississippi River bridge in Memphis. The keys were in the ignition and the tank full of gas. Wiley had been in Memphis for a two-day annual meeting of the scientific advisory board of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Memphis. He had served on the board for about 10 years.

Police considered the matter a missing persons case and had said it might have been a suicide. Wiley was last seen Nov. 15 just before midnight at a St. Jude’s dinner at a hotel about a 15-minute drive from the bridge. The car was found a few hours later.

Wiley is an expert on how the human immune system fights off infections and had recently investigated such dangerous viruses as AIDS, Ebola, herpes and influenza.