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Rescue attempt for suspect who jumped into Des Moines River now recovery attempt, police say

The Des Moines Police Department is treating the incident as a missing persons case while they try to locate the man that led them on a chase Thursday night.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Police are still searching for answers after a man led officers on a pursuit that ended with him jumping into the Des Moines River near Prospect Park Wednesday night.

Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department called the incident sad because officers were trying to help the man before he led them on a pursuit. 

"[He] became very confrontational. They had described his behavior as unusual and erratic," Parizek told Local 5's Jon Diaz. "He was screaming at the officers and spit at a police car." 

The man allegedly jumped into his car and led officers on a pursuit, coming to a stop in Prospect Park. He then jumped into the river, police said. 

Police attempted to help the man as he struggled to swim, but he got out about 40 feet into the water, which is when officers say he went under the surface. 

A dive team searched the Des Moines River Thursday for the man but did not find him. The dive team started their search around 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Until a body is found, Des Moines police are treating the incident as a missing persons case. 

The man's family on Thursday went to the river looking for answers. They didn't appear on-camera, but they did tell Local 5 they're full of questions and don't know what could have led to this happening.

Police said they did locate drugs and alcohol inside of the man's car. 

"We're definitely in a position to help him if that's what he needed, we just weren't able to get this attention to the point where we could actually engage him," Parizek said.

Local 5 will update this story as more information becomes available. Download the We Are Iowa app or subscribe to Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter for the latest. 

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