Body discovery not linked to foul play; drowning suspected

Published 9:21 am Tuesday, April 12, 2016

RESERVE — Police have all but ruled out foul play as a factor in the death of a Reserve man found dead in a ditch Friday morning near Airline Highway, adding preliminary findings indicate drowning as the cause of death.

St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said Tuesday morning an autopsy has been scheduled and preliminary findings indicate the cause of death was drowning.

“Investigators found no evidence of a struggle at the location and found no evidence of trauma to the body to indicate that (the victim) was involved in any physical altercation prior to his death.

“Autopsy toxicology reports are pending.”

Tregre said if there was evidence of foul play, he would have said something already.

“There is nothing to support that anyone did him any harm, but if he was I have a duty, a responsibility and an obligation to alert the public that there is a guy out there and advise people to keep their eyes open,” Tregre said.

The Sheriff’s Office and coroner are not releasing the name of the victim, saying public identification is rare if there is no crime.

The body of the 44-year-old Reserve man was found along West Airline Highway in the 3200 block near McGraw Drive in Reserve when deputies responded to the scene at 7:51 a.m. Friday after a passerby reported an unresponsive subject in a ditch. Emergency medical services requested the coroner, who pronounced the subject dead on the scene.

Sgt. Dane Clement said the family of the victim was notified Friday.