Body found in Kennewick canal

A woman's body was found Monday in a Columbia Irriga-tion District canal at the corner of 36th Avenue and Gum Street in Kennewick.

It was discovered just before noon by two men who were walking along Gum Street and spotted it in the water, said Sgt. Ken Lattin of the Kennewick Police Department.

It was found on the east side of the canal bridge over Gum Street. The cause of death is under investigation.

"Any time you find a body in the water in the middle of winter it's suspicious," Lattin said.

Everything at the scene was collected by police, including a plastic bag found near the body.

The woman, believed to be in her mid-40s, tentatively has been identified, but her name was not released because family had not been notified, said John Hansons, deputy coroner for Benton County.

She is believed to be a Tri-City resident, but it's unknown which city she lived in, Hansons added.

Hansons is acting deputy coroner until he officially takes over as Benton County coroner on Jan. 1.

"An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday," he said.

Columbia Basin Dive Rescue officials were called to recover the body, which was face-down in about a foot of water and five inches of mud, said Scott Ruppelius, operations director with the dive and rescue unit.

"The body did not appear to have been in the water long," he said.