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Updated: Friday, 16 Mar 2012, 8:09 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 15 Mar 2012, 5:12 AM EDT
COVERT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Authorities in southwestern Michigan have identified a decomposed body found in a Van Buren County ditch.
The Covert Township Police Department said Thursday that that the body of Ivory Lee Shaver III, 26, was found Tuesday in a drainage ditch on 72nd Street near 40th Avenue in a rural area of Van Buren County.
Shaver's body was found by a local farmer who went to his blueberry field to begin clearing it for spring.
"He noticed something floating in the county drain," said Covert Township police Chief Rick Winans. "He walked up a little closer and saw what appeared to be some legs."
The body was so significantly decomposed that police couldn't immediately identify it.
"At the time, we didn't know anything due to the state of decomposition," said Winans. "We couldn't tell if it was a male or a female; white, black or Hispanic. We couldn't tell anything like that."
Shaver was not identified until Thursday night.
An autopsy was conducted Wednesday.
"No cause of death was determined. There were no signs of foul play," said Winans.
There was no identification found with the body. Without clues to the body's identity, police released what information they had in hopes that someone could help identify him.
"I am hoping that someone will come forward and say, 'Hey, we know this person,'" said Winans mid-day Thursday, before the body was identified. "The body could have been dumped from another state, you don't know."
Shaver was about 5-foot-8, weighed about 170 pounds and had a beard and mustache. He also had a tongue piercing and a tattoo on his inside right forearm that appears to be in calligraphy or similar letters that may have spelled "GLEE."
"There, again, due to the decomposition of the body, it was hard to read what it said," Winans explained. "The best they could tell is that it said GLEE, or something like that, but we can't even be sure of that."
Police are concerned that additional investigative resources may be slow because of state police budget cuts.
"Half of the crime labs are shut down, just like the posts and they are the ones who do the processing of any evidence, so it takes time," said Winans.
24 Hour News 8's Steve Kelso contributed to this report.