Monday will be the third day of a search for a Cedar Rapids Water Treatment Plant employee who didn't return near the end of his shift over the weekend.

According to the Cedar Rapids Police Department, 54-year-old Erik Spaw of Cedar Rapids worked most of a Friday night shift at the water department's northwest plant. However, he didn't return to the Water Treatment Plant on J Avenue where his personal vehicle was in the parking lot. The City of Cedar Rapids' Utilities and Fleets Departments were able to determine that Spaw's work vehicle, assigned by the city, was last located near Ellis Road NW.

Just before 7:15 a.m. Saturday morning, May 7, Cedar Rapids firefighters and police officers were sent to an area about a mile upstream from the Edgewood Road bridge after a vehicle was reported submerged in the Cedar River. Water rescue teams from the Cedar Rapids Fire Department immediately began a search of the river.

After finding what they believed to be a vehicle, dive teams from Iowa and Johnson County were called in to help with the vehicle's recovery while water and ground crews from the Linn County Sheriff's Office also assisted.

Recovery of the vehicle started about 11:30 Saturday morning and it was removed at around 3:30 p.m. Spaw's work truck was unoccupied when it was removed from the river.

Water teams continued to search until dusk on Saturday and continued their work throughout the day, until dusk on Sunday. According to the Cedar Rapids Fire Department, "Crews are using search techniques to ensure the widest possible search area and best use of resources." Teams have been working in the area where the vehicle was found, as well as downstream. Their search will continue on Monday.

Roy Hesemann, City of Cedar Rapids Utilities Director said,

We are extremely saddened to face the loss of an employee. Erik was a valued employee who gave many years of service to the City, and we are grateful for his dedication. We grieve with his family, staff who worked with Erik, and the community.

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