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Delhi man found in Merced River
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An 82-year-old Delhi man last seen going for a walk Sunday was pulled from the Merced River Monday afternoon.

The deceased was identified Tuesday as Nikola Ivanov.

Ivanov was reported missing around 11 p.m. Sunday. His wife said it was her husband’s habit to go out for a walk around their property, located in the 7000 block of Mariana Road in Delhi. She told Merced Counties Sheriff’s deputies he left about noon and was expected to come back a few hours later, but never returned.

Deputies, along with the Sheriff’s Air Unit responded to conduct a search for the missing man for several hours but were unable to locate him Sunday night. While searching, deputies found some of the missing man’s clothing and shoes, which were wet and covered with mud next to a set of pruning shears. It appears he was pruning braches next to a water pump, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

On Monday the search for Ivanov was resumed. Shortly after 1 p.m. a bloodhound alerted to a spot where deputies believe Ivanov went into the water. Deputies were then led to an area where the dog was sensing Ivanov’s scent. Divers went into the river and retrieved Ivanov’s body, MacKenzie said.

An autopsy was completed and it was ruled Ivanov died from an accidental drowning. MacKenzie said there was no indication of foul play, though it is still unknown why Ivanov was in the water.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.