Police retrieve body part from Charles River; possible link seen to slaying, dismemberment in Nov.

Essex County prosecutors say authorities recovered a body part today from the Charles River that may be linked to the strange case of a man who was apparently killed, dismembered, and set on fire this fall.

Parts of Dennis Ray Jackson’s body were found burning in November in a barrel near the Bridgewater state prison complex, and behind an industrial building in Boston’s Hyde Park section.

“I can confirm that a body part was recovered today from the Charles River that may be connected” to the case, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. She emphasized the word “may.”

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She said there was an “active and ongoing investigation.” She would not say what body part it was. And she said the identity of the victim would not be clear until analysis by the medical examiner.

The body part was pulled from the river on the Cambridge side, near the MIT sailing pavilion, she said.

Reginald Cummings, 26, who rented a home in Salisbury that investigators believe may be linked to Jackson’s death, was arraigned on unrelated charges in early December after being captured in California near the Mexican border and brought back to Massachusetts. He was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail and is still in custody.

Cummings has not been charged in Jackson’s death. Describing Jackson as a friend, Cummings told a California television station that he had no role in the death and found out about it when he was in Mexico.

Essex County prosecutors said in November that they were working with prosecutors and police in the other jurisdictions to try to determine if the “crime scene” at the Salisbury home was linked to Jackson’s killing.

The Essex prosecutors also said they were taking the lead in the case “based on the findings of the investigation thus far.”