Coroner: Man found in river probably dead before in water

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 (sy-OH’-tuh) 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.

Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz (AN’-ih-hee ohr-TEEZ’) 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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