The fears of Shane Montgomery's parents became a reality Saturday afternoon when crews pulled the body of the missing West Chester University student from the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia's Manayunk neighborhood.
U.S. & World
"Today we have done what we promised," Shane's mother, Karen Montgomery said as she choked back tears. "We found and brought Shane home."
Authorities have not yet confirmed the identity of the man found, however, Shane's family confirmed to NBC10 the body is the Roxborough native.
Shane's father, Kevin, stood alongside his wife in the frigid rain outside the Manayunk Brewery as she tearfully thanked all those who helped in the search efforts.
As the parents concluded their remarks, they asked for the public to respect their privacy at this time.
"We need time to mourn together as a family," said Karen, her voice cracking as she looked up from the paper in her hands for the first time. Her full statement has been posted to the Help Find Shane Montgomery Facebook page.
Shane's uncle Kevin Verbrugghe told NBC10 he texted his nephew "come home" Saturday morning.
Hours later, Shane's body was found. His parents stood a short distance from the river at the time.
Garden State Underwater Recovery Unit divers discovered the body in the water behind the Manayunk Brewery, located near Main Street and Shurs Lane in Manayunk, around 12:15 p.m., Philadelphia Police said.
"There was that moment that you kind of hoped it wasn't Shane," Verbrugghe said. "But at the same time he's in God's hands."
The discovery occurred in the same portion of the Schuylkill River where divers concentrated their search for Shane in the five weeks since he was reported missing.
His body was found at the bottom of the Schuylkill, about 10-feet away from the bank of the river, according to a member of the dive team.
"God bless the divers," Verbrugghe said. "They will forever be part of our family. "
Police sources told NBC10 he was wearing the same clothes his family remembered him wearing the night of his disappearance.
Surveillance video captured Shane walking early Thanksgiving morning toward the Schuylkill River after leaving Kildare's Irish Pub around 1:45 a.m.
Searches by ground, air and water ensued and gained nationwide attention. A reward for information leading to Montgomery's whereabouts climbed to $65,000, but as the days crept on, hope of finding him alive faded.
Federal agents operated on the theory that the Roman Catholic High School alum was in the Schuylkill River since early on in their search efforts. Three weeks after Shane went missing, a group of volunteer divers found Montgomery's keys in the river next to a parking lot.
Karen said late last month finding her son, even by pulling his body from the river, would bring closure to the family.
A group of Mummers honored Shane by wearing special ribbons during their annual New Year's Day parade in Philadelphia. The ribbons' color — green — is Shane's favorite and is also associated with missing children.
The Medical Examiner will officially identify the body Monday.