Man identified after torso found in White River, family desperate for answers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 19, 2016)-- The identity of a body recovered from White River has been released.

Police say the torso of James Rice, 44, was found Sunday morning in the river by a fisherman near West New York Street.

The fisherman, who did not want to be identified, says he and a friend were fishing from a small boat on the White River near New York Street Sunday morning. They spotted something unusual caught in debris on the west side bank, and moments later, the gruesome reality of their discovery set in.

The fisherman said the head and arms appeared to be cleanly severed from the torso, and the legs were cut off below the knees.

Police said Rice had a distinctive “Only God Can Judge Me” tattoo on his back. He was reported missing by his mother on Sunday, according to a police report. She had not seen him in five days. Judy Howard told CBS4 she called police after a friend of her son's told her that she couldn't get in touch with James, and something was wrong.

"Whoever did this, I just want them to know that James was well-loved by men and women. He was well-liked, so they're not going to get away with this," Howard said.

Howard said she wouldn't talk about the graphic nature of her son's death, but she would talk about his memory. She said he loved his children and believes whoever is responsible had to know her son.

"James had to trust them to put his guard down, so it was somebody that knew him, and whoever that was, God is going to get him," she said.

The case is currently being classified as a death investigation, as the coroner has not ruled on a cause or manner of death. There were no gunshot wounds found on Rice's torso.

Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to call police or Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

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