WPD: Body found identified as missing kayaker

Published: Jul. 28, 2016 at 2:41 PM CDT
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UPDATE: Wichita police say the body found in the Arkansas River last week belongs to missing kayaker Brian Bergkamp.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita issued the following statement after learning the body is that of the seminarian:

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita, upon learning that the body of seminarian Brian Bergkamp has been recovered, wishes to express gratitude to God for His abundant graces offered to strengthen all impacted by Brian’s death, to the members of the recovery team and personnel of the Wichita Fire and Police Departments, and to those others who have helped in any way throughout this tragedy. Brian’s Diocesan family is also thankful that his mortal remains will be able to be laid to rest and have a place at which continued prayers may be offered for his eternal well-being. Finally, our prayers continue to be lifted up for the consolation of Brian’s family as they take the next step to honor the memory of their son and brother.


UPDATE: Wichita police say kayakers in the Arkansas River found a body around 2:15 p.m. Fire crews working to get to a sandbar to retrieve it.

Crews don't have an age or gender on the body, and they don't know how long it's been in the river.

Police say the river is calm and safe right now so fire crews shouldn't have a problem getting to the body.

Police say once the body is recovered, it will be taken to the Sedgwick County coroner's office where identity and cause of death will be determined.


Wichita fire crews have found a body in the Arkansas River, near Pawnee & Broadway.

Our news partners at KFDI are reporting that traffic through Herman Hill Park is blocked.

The location is about five miles south of where Seminarian Brian Bergkamp went missing following a kayaking accident on July 9.

Emergency crews are in the very preliminary stages of their recovery efforts. No links have been made to this latest discovery and Bergkamp's death.

Eyewitness New reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Wichita where daily masses have been held for Bergkamp, to see if they had been notified by law enforcement about the recovery effort.

"I wanted to let you all know that from a diocesan perspective all we can do is wait and pray and trust in God's plan," said Amy Pavlacka, the diocesan spokesperson.

Eyewitness News has a crew headed to the scene. We'll update you with more information on this developing story as soon as details become available.