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Fairfax County police recovered the body of an elderly man from Lake Thoreau in Reston on Friday morning.

Officers aboard a police helicopter sighted a body in the lake at about 10 a.m. while they were looking for a 91-year-old man who was reported missing in the South Lakes area of Reston at about 9:30 a.m., said police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.

Caldwell said police divers aided Fairfax Fire and Rescue members in recovering the body, which has not yet been identified.

“We cannot say whether it is the man police were initially searching for,” she said. “The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and make a positive identification.”

Witnesses at South Lakes Village Shopping Center said a walker and some articles of clothing were lying on the dock of the lake at the shopping center before police and rescue teams arrived.

“I saw them laying there,” said Lauren Reynolds of Reston, who was walking her dog on the dock Friday morning and stayed as the recovery took place. “I didn’t really think much of it until police showed up and I saw them putting on diving suits.”

The recovery of the body continued until 1 p.m. and coincided with lunch crowds making their way to the waterside restaurants in the shopping center, requiring police to put up yellow “do not cross” tape around the recovery scene.

“Parking in this area is normally very congested,” said Mitch Isaacson, who was on his way to lunch. “I think this tragic event got a lot of people’s attention as soon as they entered the center because there was literally nowhere to park.”

gmacdonald@fairfaxtimes.com