MUHLENBERG TOWNSHIP, BERKS COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The body of a Schuylkill County man was recovered from a quarry in Berks County Saturday.
Dive teams pulled his body from the icy water a roughly 24-hour search. Joshua Fontanez-Rodriguez was from Minersville. That’s about an hour from where he was found. Fontanez-Rodriguez was only 23 years old.
Saturday afternoon, crews found the body of 23-year-old Joshua Fontanez-Rodriguez of Minersville, Schuylkill County in a Muhlenberg Township quarry.
Muhlenberg Police told Eyewitness News officers encountered Fontanez-Rodriguez Friday morning. He was suspected in a retail theft at Target. When an officer stepped outside to verify his identification, Fontanez-Rodriguez ran off toward the nearby Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.
Police say they were concerned about him running on the tracks because they are heavily trafficked. Fontanez-Rodriguez followed a trail along the west edge of the quarry where he lost his footing on the edge of the quarry and fell at least 65 feet into the water.
Muhlenberg Police say Fontanez-Rodriguez was last seen standing on the bank and when officers caught up to him, he was in the water.
Officers pleaded with him to swim to the shore but the quarry walls are very steep. Police say when Fontanez-Rodriguez fell in, the surface temperature of the water was 31 degrees.
Schuylkill County Hose Co. #2 dive team and boats responded and assisted Berks County dive teams with the search. Operations were suspended Friday night due to darkness and a drop in temperatures.
The search resumed Saturday morning. Crews deployed boats with sonar and underwater cameras to locate Fontanez-Rodriguez. Divers were then deployed for recovery.
Fontanez-Rodriguez was found around noon Saturday. Muhlenberg Police called the incident a tragic situation and Schuylkill County Hose Company posted on their Facebook page sending their condolences to his family and friends.