Officials have recovered a body from the Sabine River south of Longview near an area where crews had been searching for a missing 77-year-old man.

Gregg County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Josh Tubb said rescue workers found the body at 2:24 p.m. Wednesday with assistance from the Gregg County game warden.

Tubb would not identify the gender of the person and indicated it was too early to confirm whether it was that of Loyd Thrasher of Mansfield. Family members reported Thrasher missing Tuesday to Kilgore police, he said.

“It may take days or weeks before we get a positive identification,” Tubb said Wednesday afternoon. He said it was unknown how long the person had been dead.

“The sheriff’s office is investigating” the body as a death investigation, Tubb said. “If it is confirmed as a missing person, the cases will be consolidated.”

Tubb said the sheriff’s office began the investigation after a deputy found a rental car with its door and trunk ajar at 8:55 a.m. Monday off FM 2087 near the river.

“He put in a search of the area to see if he could find the person belonging to the car,” Tubb said. He said the deputy returned to the scene at 11:55 a.m. and noticed no change to the car.

The deputy resumed the search of about 200 yards on each side of the Sabine River, checked the license plate and vehicle identification number and determined it was a rental car, Tubb said.

Tubb said sheriff’s investigators continued the search Wednesday morning, aided by other agencies based on the missing person being at risk. Other agencies participating in the search were Kilgore police, the Longview Fire Department with its water rescue team and members of the Harleton Volunteer Fire Department.

Rader Funeral Home arrived Wednesday afternoon to retrieve the body.