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UPDATE: Death ruled suicide after man found in car in St. Joseph River

A car was recovered from the St. Joseph River in Elkhart Monday. // WSBT 22 photo

UPDATE: The death of a man found in the St. Joe River Monday was ruled a suicide.


A man pulled from the driver's seat of a four-door car submerged in the St. Joseph River has died, Elkhart Police said in a press release. The 47-year-old was taken to Elkhart General Hospital and passed away there. Investigators did not believe foul play lead to the death and scheduled an autopsy for Tuesday, the release said.

Emergency crews responded early Monday morning to Elkhart's McNaughton Park after reports of a vehicle in the river around 9:40 a.m.

Crews on scene found a silver Honda Accord in the St. Joseph River just a few feet off the bank around 9:50 a.m.

Mike McCormick was one of the first people to see the vehicle, while driving down South West Blvd., "I saw that grey Honda Accord, the rear end sticking out of the river, and I thought that was unusual so I floored it and got around to the park down here," he said.

That's when he said another person came to the scene, telling McCormick police were on the way.

"I was just hoping and praying nobody had died," said McCormick.

We do not have the identity of the man inside the vehicle, and Sgt. Chris Snyder told WSBT 22 News police have no reason to believe any other people were inside the vehicle. He also said they're done searching.

"There was a lot of man power," said Sgt. Chris Snyder.

From the time police were called, the car didn't get out of the river until about 11:10 a.m. Sgt. Snyder with Elkhart Police said they're still not sure how the 4-door car wound up in the river.

"To my knowledge there was nothing in any of the sand or dirt that it went off the road," he said.

He said it's possible the car went in from the boat ramp.

When the victim was removed from the water, paramedics started trying to resuscitate him, and they took the man to Elkhart General.

Police are investigating the cause of this incident. DNR officials said the roof of the car was only about a foot from the water's surface, and police say the vehicle likely entered the water shortly before witnesses spotted it submerged.

No further details have been provided.

Stay with WSBT 22 for details.


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