PORTLAND — Police have tentatively identified the body found in the Fore River last Friday as that of a 22-year-old Portland man who has been missing since March. 

In a press release Monday afternoon, Capt. Vern Malloch tentatively identified the body as Ezra Milan. Malloch said DNA tests will be needed to confirm the man’s identity, but the body found was that of a black man matching Milan’s general description, carrying the same personal items and wearing the same clothing.

Malloch said an autopsy conducted by the state medical examiner’s officer indicated the cause of death was drowning. “The manner of death is accidental,” he said. 

Malloch said crew members aboard an oil tanker reported seeing the body floating in the river near the South Portland shoreline at 9:30 p.m. on May 8. He said the body was recovered near the Exxon terminal in South Portland. 

South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins said the body was reported to South Portland dispatchers and was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard. He said Portland police are handling the investigation. 

“We were only minimally involved,” Googins said. 

Milan has been missing since March 11, when he celebrated a friend’s birthday in the Old Port. 

After leaving Bill’s Pizza on Commercial Street, Milan was last seen on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge. The 6-foot 3-inch, 200-pound man was wearing a black jacket, a white t-shirt with black and blue stars on the front, jeans and sneakers. Milan also has a “Z” tattooed on the right side of his neck.

Milan’s MySpace page was updated on Sunday. Before police identified the body, the administrator of the page claimed the body found Friday night was Milan’s.

“Ezra’s body was found in the bay where he went missing,” the administrator wrote. “I miss you boo. I will love you forever.”

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected] 

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