Worker: "The top started coming open, and a hand popped out!"

Worker: "The top started coming open, and a hand popped out!"

John Staggs knows the Mississippi River. He works on the river and sleeps on the river, so when he saw a trash can floating by with bright red straps, he knew it didn't belong.
 

Memphis, TN -- John Staggs knows the Mississippi River. He works on the river and sleeps on the river, so when he saw a trash can floating by with bright red straps, he knew it didn't belong.

"I said, shoot, I want them things," Staggs said.

Staggs said he positioned his boat next to the trash can and started pulling.

"The top started coming open and a hand popped out, I said, 'Oh Lord, time to go!'" Staggs said.

Staggs said a few co-workers helped him pull the trash can to the banks of the Mississippi and they called police.

"All I saw was a hand," said Steve Kuykendall, who helped Staggs. "I automatically thought it was a homicide."

"I knew something was wrong when I picked it up as heavy as it was, I knew something bad wrong," Staggs said. "I first thought it is a child, ya know, needs to get it out of the water."

"To me it looked like she may have been dumped the wee hours of the morning," Staggs said. "Her arm was limp, so that told me right there she hadn't been in there that long."

Staggs and Kuykendall said the trash can had a hole cut out on the top and side. 

"I guess they thought it was going to sink, but it flipped, it got an air pocket in it, so, therefore it wasn't going to sink," Staggs said.

"I would have to say, they can come up to Big Sandy, Tennessee where I live, and I would show them how to do it, to them," he said. "We don't tolerate crap like that up there."

A Memphis Police spokeswoman said investigators are working to determine the identity of an African American woman. 

Kuykendall said investigators told him it appeared the woman was between 18-25 years old.

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