Coroner: Man found in river probably dead before in water

Franklin County's coroner says there is a "high probability" that Joseph "Joey LaBute Jr. was dead before he went into the Scioto River in Columbus. (WCMH Photo)
Franklin County's coroner says there is a "high probability" that Joseph "Joey LaBute Jr. was dead before he went into the Scioto River in Columbus. (WCMH Photo)

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A coroner says a man whose body was found in a central Ohio river was probably dead before he went into the water.

Franklin County’s coroner says there is a “high probability” that Joseph “Joey LaBute Jr. was dead before he went into the Scioto River in Columbus. She says further medical and toxicology tests are needed to determine what caused his death.

Police say the Gahanna man’s body was found half-submerged in the river on Tuesday. They said they were treating the death as suspicious.

READ MORE: Police find body in central Ohio river

Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz says the autopsy showed no external “traumatic injuries” such as a gunshot or stab wound. It could take weeks to get further test results.

Family members say LaBute was last seen March 5 at a Columbus bar.

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