LULING, La. – A body recovered late Tuesday from the Mississippi River has been tentatively identified as the brother of Baltimore Ravens' star safety Ed Reed, authorities said.
As members of the Reed family looked on Wednesday, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said tattoos on the body match those belonging to 28-year-old Brian Reed. More tests are planned.
Ed Reed, who attended the news conference, said his brother was driving another brother's car on Jan. 7 and was suffering mental issues that day.
The family reported the car as being driven without authorization. A deputy later spotted a parked car that matched the description provided by Reed family members.
"There was nothing illegal going on or anything like that," said Ed Reed.
Deputies approached the man they believed to be Brian Reed, and told him to put his hands behind his back. At that point, he ran away and apparently jumped into the river about 30 miles northwest of New Orleans, authorities said.
"For reasons that only Brian would know, he chose to go into the river," said Champagne.
The family has said investigators found Brian Reed's shoes and jacket, but there was no sign of him until earlier this week.
The body was first spotted Sunday, but search teams were impeded by river conditions. The current is swift as it winds toward the Gulf of Mexico, lodging debris against the levee and then pushing it back toward the channel. Boats searched the river, and sonar and divers were called in.
Champagne said the body was mired in a "jungle of debris" and for a time he was uncertain it could be recovered.
"We're just hopeful the Reed family can have some peace now," he said.
Brian Reed is survived by a 2-year-old son.
"We are not immune from trials and tribulations that go on through life," said Ed Reed.
"That was my boy. He was a loving kid," he said. "He had a son who he cherished and loved. That was his reason for living."
Ed Reed said he was grateful for support from his Ravens teammates while the team was still in the NFL playoffs. Baltimore was eliminated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs.
"All of them did a great job comforting me," Reed said.