Police withhold body's identity, looking for kin

Autopsy reports indicate death caused by exposure to elements

Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2007

One month after recovering a body from the tide line on Marmian Island, Juneau police cannot locate the next of kin, said Sgt. Steve Hernandez.

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With help from a long-ago ex-wife, police located dental records and produced a positive identification.

"We don't think he was in Juneau long," Sgt. Dave Campbell said.

Police continue to withhold the man's name hoping to first inform family. Investigators, working to locate the man's family, have enlisted the help of an Oklahoma sheriff, Campbell said.

Following an investigation of the scene, the man's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage to determine the cause of death and gain a preliminary identification.

Animals on the island near South Douglas began eating the body by the time a passing boater reported the scene to authorities.

"He was not killed by them, they got to him post-mortem," Campbell said. "He drowned."

Preliminary autopsy reports indicate the death was caused by exposure to the elements, Hernandez said.

Campbell said no signs of foul play were detected by police.

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