A man’s body found in the River Des Peres was identified Thursday as Shawn Gray, 23, of the 7000 block of Nottingham Avenue in St. Louis


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Shawn Gray may still be alive had police responded faster, says family of slain victim. New information has surfaced in the suspicious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of 23-year-old Shawn Gray, who was missing six days before his dead body was found. Gray’s body was discovered on the banks of River Des Peres Wednesday, and Thursday News 4 St. Louis spoke with his family. His loved ones are asking whether he’d still be alive if police had done more to try to find him.

Gray lived less than a half mile from where his body was found, near the intersection of River Des Peres Road and Lansdowne Avenue. There were clues surrounding his disappearance that were checked by three different police departments. The family continues to deal with the aftermath of Gray’s death, but questions linger in their minds about whether it could have been prevented altogether. Some believe that police in Ferguson, MO, are targeting all witnesses who advocated or testified on behalf of slain teen Michael Brown. However, it has not been confirmed yet if Shawn Gray testified for Brown.

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“We reached out to the officers in Ladue, Kirkwood, and the [St. Louis] city police and I feel like we didn’t get the help that we needed,” said Gray’s cousin Nayesha Courteney. When his friends and other people called the police to report him missing, the police told them, “He’s a grown man he can go missing if he wants.”

Gray was last seen leaving work at Cardwell’s restaurant and bar in Clayton at 11:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Relatives say it was unlike him to disappear so they filed a missing persons report in St. Louis two days later. It was family members that were able to track down his car to the parking lot of a Maggie Moo’s in Ladue.

“We played detective from day one of his disappearance up until yesterday of them finding his body,” stated Courteney.

The family called Ladue police, who went to the scene, looked in the trunk and inside the car and determined there was no sign of foul play. News 4 asked police if they could have done more like check for surveillance video, but they wouldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation.

Later, the family was able to track Gray’s cell phone to somewhere in the area of Oak Hill Cemetery in Kirkwood. Family members flagged down two officers and told them of their missing relative and his cell phone. Officers took the information and promised to ask around if anyone had seen him in the area but did no more.

“We would at least had the chance to save him if nothing else,” said Gray’s aunt Cathy Evans. “But now we have to bury him.”

-Tamara El(@_SheWise_)

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