Police got the call shortly after noon Saturday.
"A canoeist had been canoeing down the river, saw an object that looked like a human," East Lansing Police Sgt. Brian Horn told News 10 Saturday night.
Officers from East Lansing and Michigan State Police responded, finding what they describe as an adult male body. Rahat Khalid was watching the scene from a friend's apartment overlooking the river.
"There was like 10 cops all of a sudden. Forensic science was here. They spent like about five hours, six hours here," Khalid said.
After all those hours, police pulled the man's body from the river. As of Saturday night, investigators said they didn't know exactly why the person died or who the person was. They do believe drowning played a role in the death.
But at least two others say they saw the body a full day earlier. Laura Donnet and a friend say they were canoeing down the Red Cedar on Friday when they saw what they thought was a body floating in the water.
"This looks just like a movie. Two girls go out canoeing, and you see a corpse," Donnet recalled, thinking.
She says she headed straight for the East Lansing Police Department.
"But we saw a policeman on the way, so we told him," Donnet said.
Horn confirms officers heard about a possible body in the river on Friday. He says two officers were sent to the scene.
"They walked the bank on both sides and was unable to locate any objects in the water," Sgt. Horn said.
Now, after finding a body at the same spot in the river the next day, police say an investigation is underway.