Two men were stabbed, bound and their bodies sunk with a makeshift anchor in the Schuylkill River, while a third man found half-dressed said he had been abducted in a bizarre series of events off Kelly Drive early this morning.
Philadelphia police were at the scene along the east side of the river, just past the John Kelly statue, for several hours this morning trying to untangle what happened to the three men.
The surviving victim told investigators that he had been grabbed by a group of about five men, thrown in the back of a van, stabbed, robbed and taken to the river with the two men whose bodies were later pulled from water. The other two were already in the van when he was abducted, the victim told police.
The investigation began around 4 a.m., when officers were called to the 2300 block of Kelly Drive, just past the statue, for a report of a man screaming, Chief Inspector Scott Small said.
The 20-year-old survivor, who was partially clothed, told investigators about the abduction.
It wasn't immediately clear when the reported abduction occurred, but police said it was during the early-morning hours.
The survivor was bound at his wrists and ankles, had duct tape placed on his face and a sack thrown over his head, Small said. He was stabbed nine times in the torso and legs, and the assailants also robbed him of an undisclosed amount of money, the man told detectives.
The man was rushed to the hospital and was undergoing surgery, Ramsey said. His condition was not immediately available, but Small said he is expected to survive.
Investigators were not clear if any of the victims were connected to each other, or if they knew their assailants.
Police scanned the crime scene for hours this morning, looking for footprints, tire tracks or anything the abductors may have dropped or clues they might have left behind.
Investigators were sent to Hahnemann University Hospital to interview the survivor while others snapped underwater photographs.
The bodies were found just off the river banks, about 50 to 75 feet apart, Small said. The two were in about five to 10 feet of water, and were pronounced dead shortly before 4:30 a.m.
They appeared to have been sunk with a makeshift anchor, possibly made from a bucket. Blood stains were apparent on the shirt of one of the men after crews had pulled both bodies from the water by 8:15 a.m.
Small said both men appeared to have been stabbed.
Neither the identities, ages, or races of the two victims were available. One of the men had close-cropped hair, a goatee and was bound at the wrists.
The bodies were being taken to the medical examiner's office, who will determine how and when they died.
Inquirer staff writer Aubrey Whelan contributed to this report.
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Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.