UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
TEMPLE -- Investigators in Temple have found a body in Lake Belton. Leaving many hoping it will end the search for a Temple man who went missing a few weeks ago.
Now, friends are speaking out about 53-year old Clifford Manuel. The body was found floating in Lake Belton near McGregor Park.
That's where friends of Clifford Manuel, a Temple Daily Telegram writer, say he was going when they last spoke with him.
"He liked to fly his planes. You'd always see him on a nice day taking his planes out, and I'm going to fly," said Manuel's friend and neighbor, Andrew Montgomery.
Manuel's car was found at the lake on Feb. 2, two days after not returning from flying his plane.
"If he was out there flying, and one of his planes went in that water, he went in after it," said Montgomery.
Police searched the area for weeks, finding the model airplane and, eventually, a body. Police say it is likely Manuel.
"The next step is the autopsy results. The preliminary ones will tell us if there's any evidence of foul play at all, or if it was just an accidental drowning," said Sgt. Brad Hunt with Temple Police.
Manuel's girlfriend wasn't available for comment. Neighbors did say he has a son.
As for now, friends wait for results from police to determine if the body really is Manuel.
"He was always smiling, you know, never looked like he had a bad day. Just liked to fly his planes," said Montgomery.