A heart-breaking twist in the investigation of a body found in a northeast side retention pond. The coroner has reversed her initial ruling saying the body may actually be Joshua Swalls.
It's been a roller-coaster ride for Joshua's family. The coroner first told them the body was not Joshua because she didn't find any evidence of tattoos he had on his wrists. However, an autopsy this morning produced new clues that prompted her to step-back from that determination.
An official confirmation of his identity won't be announced until the results of a dental comparison are finished.
Meanwhile, family and friends are honoring his life.
“There’s nobody out there like him. He's one of a kind,” says Amanda Mcdaniel, a friend and ex-girlfriend of Josh. “He's just one of the best guys I know.”
As friends remember their first memories with Josh Swalls, they are hoping to change his last.
“He was all about fun. He did what he wanted to do so his life was very eventful,” said Poynter. “I think that everybody should remember him that way. I don't want people to remember him as the missing man from Indianapolis. He should be remembered as a great family person with a lot of friends and one of the most loved people.”
Josh was last seen leaving his friend's apartment on November 4th. It's been a whirlwind three weeks for family and friends who have searched through woods, ponds and streams for Josh.
20 days later, Josh’s mother, Theresa Lueder, received the news she was dreading Friday afternoon – dive teams recovered a body of a white male in a retention pond just a block away from where Josh disappeared. An initial report ruled out it was Josh until Saturday afternoon.
In a statement to Fox 59, the family wrote: "All of our energies and thoughts have been focused on bringing our son home, searching from sunrise to sunset in areas we never imagined we would be and talking to people we would probably have never met otherwise. We would like to take this opportunity to send them our deepest and most heartfelt thanks in giving of themselves to help us find our son.”
“I don't understand that could have been overlooked. He was right there,” says Poynter.
“When I first found out, I fell to the floor, bawling my eyes out,” said Mcdaniel. “I've never had that feeling before, you know? I at least want to say goodbye. I want to see him. I want to hug him, and now I can't.”
It is a start of getting some kind of closure as they try their best to celebrate Josh's life. The girls describe Josh as a caring son, brother and friend who would do anything to make you smile.
“You can never be mad at him. He was the happiest person,” says Mcdaniel. “And if you mad at him, he made sure you weren't mad at him. He would say something to make you like laugh.”
A benefit account has been set up in Joshua’s name at Key Bank. Donations can be made at any Key Bank location in the Indianapolis-area by asking the teller to add the donation to the Josh Swalls Benevolent Account. Outside of the Indianapolis-area, donations can be sent to Josh Swalls Benevolent Account, Key Bank, 4404 E. 10th St, Indianapolis, IN 46201.
The family is still working on funeral arrangements for Josh.