Inmate's body pulled from Mississippi River
BELLE CHASSE - The body of an inmate who disappeared while working on a tugboat as part of a work release program has been pulled from the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish.
The sheriff's office identified the man found Thursday as 30-year-old Andrew Vargas, of Hockley, Texas. NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports Vargas' body was discovered floating in the river, just north of Belle Chasse.
Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Chaun Domingue says an autopsy determined Vargas died of drowning.
The U.S. Coast Guard searched the river for 15 hours after Vargas was reported missing from the tug Sunday. The agency suspended the search Monday.
Vargas was part of the work release program at the Tangipahoa Parish Prison. He was serving 5- and 10-year prison sentences for a pair of convictions: DWI-third offense and DWI-fourth offense.