ODNR identifies man found dead in Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (WDTN) – Police and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, ODNR, are trying to figure out how a body ended up in the Little Miami River near Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources identified the body as 65-year-old Michael Fowler of Springfield. ODNR says this incident is still under investigation.

As of Tuesday night, we know the body has been identified as male, but the age and identity is still unknown as Police try and figure out what exactly happened that caused the man’s body to end up in the River.

An active search and recovery mission was underway Tuesday afternoon at Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs.

“We received a call,” Miami Township Fire Chief Colin Altman said. “Earlier through ODNR.”

The call came in from two hikers, who called the Ohio Department of Nature Resources Communications Center in Columbus. The couple was hiking on a trail, when police say they saw what looked like a body in the River.

The call came into the ODNR Communications Center around 1:30 Tuesday afternoon. At 2:30, authorities were on scene and Coroner was en route to the location. By, 3:30 the body had been pulled from the river.

We asked officials what caused the man’s body to end up there.

“It’s still under investigation,” Altman said. “We have investigators from Nature Resources who are here. They will be handling the investigation with the coroner’s office to try and determine if this was accidental or a suicide or what not.”

At this time, authorities aren’t saying if the death is suspicious.

Altman with the Miami Township Fire and Rescue team in Yellow Springs says it’s hard to say how long the man’s body has been there.

“We’ve been out here for probably about 2 hours,” Altman said. “I’m not sure how long it was in before that.”

Altman says the discovery comes at a time when the area is in the off season and not used to seeing a large influx of people.

“It’s usually heavily trafficked in the summer,” Altman said. “But, people do like to come out here in the winter. We try to keep everybody from walking in the woods when it’s icy like this.”

The Greene County Coroner’s Office is handling the investigation. The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is being contracted to perform the autopsy.

As of Tuesday evening, the man’s identity is still not being released.



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