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On third day of search for missing landscaper, body discovered in water reclamation area

Updated Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 | 5:35 p.m.

Search for Missing Landscaper

Metro Search and Rescue officers search for a missing golf course worker along the Flamingo Wash near Sloan Lane Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The worker was working in the wash and is missing after Tuesday's rainstorm and flooding. Launch slideshow »

Map of Desert Rose Golf Course

Desert Rose Golf Course

5483 Club House Drive, Las Vegas

Click to enlarge photo

Astrid Silva, Las Vegas, is urging people to assist in the search for Calletano Lopez, the landscaper who went missing Tuesday during a downpour at Desert Rose Golf Course.

Police are awaiting positive identification of a body found Thursday afternoon at a water reclamation area near Flamingo Road and Stephanie Street, but it is unknown at this time if it was that of Calletano Lopez, the Desert Rose Golf Course landscaper who has been missing since late Tuesday afternoon.

Reached at home Thursday afternoon, Lopez's wife, Victoria, said police had contacted her but she had not gone to identify the body yet.

Speaking in Spanish at a barely audible volume, she said "hope dies last."

The news late Thursday afternoon of the discovery was confirmed by Metro spokeswoman Laura Meltzer and comes a day after a Las Vegas woman decided to take it upon herself to help solicit volunteers to help search for Lopez.

Astrid Silva said she didn't know Lopez or his family but she nevertheless felt compelled to try to organize a cadre of volunteers to join in the search. Authorities fear Lopez was swept away in either the Flamingo Wash or the Las Vegas Wash, which flow through the eastern valley golf course.

The water reclamation area near Flamingo and Stephanie is about 2 1/2 miles downstream from the golf course.

Silva produced a flier on Wednesday and was promoting it on social media urging people to “Join in the search for Calletano Lopez.”

“This could have been anybody’s father, son or brother,” Silva said, explaining why she felt the need to get involved.

Lopez is described on the flier as 38 years old with a wife who is six months pregnant with the couple's son, whom they plan to name Victor Gabriel.

“Please join us,” the flier reads, “we have hope of finding him or of at least allowing his family the chance for a proper goodbye.”

Silva estimated that she had calls from 15 to 20 people responding to the flier, “and each of them said they can take a friend.” The more people searching, she theorized, the better chances are of finding Lopez.

Silva directed volunteers to the Red Rock Search and Rescue team, which was involved in the search.

Metro spokesman Officer Marcus Martin said officers and volunteers resumed their effort Thursday morning after a daylong effort Wednesday by police and volunteers turned up no sign of Lopez. The body was discovered at 2:43 p.m. at the reclamation site, according to a tweet from Metro's Twitter account.

Lopez was last seen wearing an orange safety vest and operating a front-end loader at about 4:20 p.m. Tuesday near a wash when the storm hit the course near East Sahara Avenue and South Nellis Boulevard, officials said. His supervisor told him he could leave due to the weather, but when the supervisor returned, the man was gone.

Tim Sutko, environmental mitigation manager for the Clark County Regional Flood Control District, said two major washes converge at the golf course grounds: the Flamingo Wash dumps into the Las Vegas Wash. At 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, just before the man’s disappearance, the U.S. Geological Survey measured 10,000 cubic feet of water per second moving through the Las Vegas Wash on the golf course, Sutko said. That’s the equivalent of about 74,800 gallons of water moving through the wash each second.

Sun reporters Brian Nordli and Tovin Lapan contributed to this story.

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