The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

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September 14, 2007

Missing man found dead in state park lake

A Montgomery County man listed as missing was found dead in Lake Raven inside Huntsville State Park on Friday from what police are calling an apparent suicide.

The man was found floating in the lake head-down, bound with rope around his neck and a leg. A cinder block was tied to the end of the rope.

Detective Stephen Cole with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office said the man was white, but that other details — including the man’s name and age — were not available pending notification of family members.

According to Sheriff Clint McRae, the body had been in the lake “several days.”

His body was taken to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office for a full autopsy.

The man was found by fishermen around 7:30 Friday morning.

“I thought somebody threw a mannequin in the water,” said Rick Pritchard, who was fishing when he discovered the body. “After I drove by I thought I had better turn around and make sure that’s not a real body.”

Walker County sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and removed the body from the water.

While police believe the death a suicide, a full investigation and autopsy have been ordered.

Cole said preliminary autopsy results were expected early next week.

“It’s normal practice to make sure we cover all the bases,” McRae said. “At this point, we have no reason to believe it not to be self-induced.”

McRae said the man had been listed as a missing person in Montgomery County for several days.

The man’s car — a small silver four-door sedan — was found at the scene. Sheriff’s deputies impounded the car as part of the investigation.

Pritchard said he remembered seeing the car before.

“I remember the day before I was fishing there and it seemed like that car was there for a few days,” Pritchard said.

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