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Bound bodies found in Phila. river; 3rd victim says he escaped

PHILADELPHIA - Two bound bodies were found in a Philadelphia river after a third victim told police he was stabbed, bound and tossed into the water by an unknown assailant, but was able to free himself.

The bodies were found in the Schuylkill River in Fairmount Park just before 4 a.m. Wednesday, Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

"Both of the dead bodies had duct tape wrapped around their face.... both [bodies] appeared to be bound, their wrists and ankles. They also appeared to be tied or tethered to some piece of debris, some sort of weight used as an anchor to take them under water," he said.

CBS Philly reports the 20-year-old man was soaking wet and partially clothed, with stab wounds to his torso and legs, when he was found by police. The victim was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

Small said the surviving victim reported that he was blindfolded and thrown into the back of a van in another part of Philadelphia, and the other two victims were already in the van. He said he was robbed and stabbed before all three were tossed into the river, but he was able to free himself and climb out of the water.

"At this point, the only motive we have for the abduction and stabbing of our 20-year-old victim who's alive is robbery," Small said. "He claims when he was thrown in the back of the van and tied up and stabbed he was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money. He further states that the two other victims were already in the back of the van -- he was not with the two other victims -- so we don't know if the two other victims were related to the robbery."

Small said the other victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and both remained unidentified.

"We're not even certain if they're males," he said.

Small said he would not disclose the place where the surviving victim was abducted, but police hoped to use surveillance video from that location to identify the van.