SANFORD, Fla. -- The car belonging to the son of basketball great Julius Erving has been pulled out of a pond with a body inside that appears to be that of the troubled teen-ager, authorities said Friday.
''The body does fit the description of Cory Erving, including clothing,'' sheriff Don Eslinger said, though an autopsy was planned Friday to make a positive identification. No foul play was suspected.
''The family has been notified,'' Eslinger said. ''They're devastated.''
Erving, 19, disappeared May 28 during a shopping trip to get bread for a Memorial Day family picnic. He might have died less than a mile from his family's home in a gated community near Orlando.
The car was found Thursday as authorities and volunteers continued their search of area lakes and ponds. It was 20 yards from shore in an 8-foot-deep pond at the end of a dirt path.
Investigators believe the car had been in the water since Erving disappeared, the sheriff said. The car's windows were up and the driver's side seat belt was not fastened.
''There's a possibility that this was an accident,'' Eslinger said.
Erving was last seen at a mall in Lake Mary, about 20 miles north of downtown Orlando. His shopping trip was supposed to last 20 minutes.
His father went public June 13, pleading for help in finding his son, who had a learning disability described as a mild form of dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.
The younger Erving also had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and run-ins with the law. Julius Erving said one of Cory's friends claimed Cory had used marijuana and ''roofies'' -- a slang term for the illegal sedative Rohypnol -- the night before he disappeared.
During the investigation, authorities suggested Erving might have had a relapse and begun using crack cocaine.
In the days before he disappeared, he apparently got into a fight with a person who broke the window of his car with a brick. A witness told investigators that Cory tried to buy a gun and get even.
A $50,000 reward was offered for his safe return. There was no sign of Cory or his black 1999 Volkswagen Passat until Thursday.
Julius Erving has spoken publicly of the difficulties his son might have faced growing up.
He might have felt some pressure to succeed as a member of a famous family, ''living in the shadow of a public figure like myself,'' the father said.
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