Body found in Lake Erie

CLEVELAND The identity of a dead man found Sunday in Lake Erie has still not been determined.
May 24, 2010



The identity of a dead man found Sunday in Lake Erie has still not been determined.

"He was in the water for quite some time, so it's hard to identify him," said Alex Baran, who does receiving technology in the Cuyahoga County Coroner's office. "We're trying to identify him by dental records."

The Caucasian man was found by a good Samaritan at about 3 p.m., two nautical miles north of Moss Point in Cleveland. The coroner's office is performing an autopsy.

U.S. Coast Guard officials could not confirm whether the body belonged to one of two boaters reported missing off Kelleys Island two weeks ago.

"I really can't speculate on anything. I'm just waiting on confirmation," said Petty Officer Matthew Schofield of the Coast Guard 9th District in Cleveland.

Baran could not say how long the body was in the water, but did say it was badly bloated.

"A lot has to do with the temperature of the water," Baran said. "You can be in there two days, two weeks, two months. It all depends. It's just hard to determine right now."

Baran said the coroner's office would use dental records of people who have been reported missing and could have the body identified in the next two days.

Meanwhile the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Toledo is still investigating whether debris found two weeks ago on a tugboat and barge combination belongs to a missing boat operated by three Wooster fishermen.

"There has not been any updates yet," said Lt. Mike Reed of the Marine Safety Unit in Toledo. "We're trying to determine what actually happened, which is difficult when we don't have any survivors."

The U.S. Coast Guard ended its search Sept. 5 for the missing Wooster fishermen after they recovered one body and some boat debris.

Cass Momchilov, 46, of Wooster was found Sept. 4 washed up on shore on the northeast side of Kelleys Island.

Two other fishermen, Christopher Crowner, 46, and Dan Crowner, 44, also of Wooster, are still missing.

The three men were on an overnight fishing trip near Kelleys Island when their boat was reported missing the morning of Sept. 4.