No foul play suspected in death of man found in riverPublished 12:07am Saturday, July 21, 2012
NATCHEZ — No foul play is suspected in the death of a Natchez man who was found floating in the Mississippi River Thursday night — three days after his family filed a missing person’s report with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.Victim
Arthur Felton, 66, of 13 James Brown Ave., was spotted floating down the river at approximately 7 p.m. near the Old River control structure in Concordia Parish by boat workers from the Angola Ferry.
Preliminary autopsy results showed blunt force trauma to the ribs and clavicle, but the primary cause of death was fluid in the lungs.
Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said those preliminary reports are consist with his department’s investigation.
“The findings are consist with a fall (into the river) and water in the lungs with possible drowning,” Mayfield said. “Everything in those reports is consistent with what we believed happened and not an assault or anything like that.
“Of course, we’re going to wait until we get the full autopsy report, and until then our investigation is ongoing.”
Angola Ferry workers initially contacted Pointe Coupe Sheriff’s Office deputies, who then contacted Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies after confirming that the body was in Concordia jurisdiction.
CPSO deputies arrived at approximately 8 p.m. and pulled the body out of the river to begin a preliminary investigation on a bank just south of the Angola ferry landing, Chief Deputy David Hedrick said.
Unable to identify the body because of its deteriorated condition, CPSO deputies contacted ACSO deputies in reference to a missing person’s report with the department.
Felton had been missing since Tuesday, when his family filed a missing person’s report with the ACSO.
Felton was transported to Concordia Funeral Home, where ACSO deputies matched Felton’s description to the missing person’s report.
“We were 99-percent certain it was him, but the body was in such condition that they’ll probably need to match dental records or other DNA in the autopsy,” Mayfield said.
Adams County Coroner James Lee said he was waiting on dental records to positively identify the body as Felton.
Initial investigations by both agencies showed no sign of gunshot or other wounds, Mayfield said.
“We’re going to wait for the autopsy to be 100-percent certain of that, but we have no reason to believe any foul play was involved,” Mayfield said.
Felton is the brother of Clark Felton, an Adams County man who was murdered in 2009 on Lagrange Road. The two suspects in Clark Felton’s murder pleaded guilty Tuesday — the day Arthur Felton went missing — to lesser charges of manslaughter and were sentenced to serve 20 years in prison.
“Right now we don’t know what his mindset was or if (the pleas) played a role in it at all,” Mayfield said. “We also believe he had recently found out he had a serious medical condition, some kind of cancer.
“It’s awful coincidental, though.”
Since Felton was from Natchez and no crime is suspected to have taken place in Louisiana, Mayfield said the ACSO took over the case and transported the body to Jackson at approximately 1:20 a.m. Friday for a full autopsy.
“If our investigation tells us that something happened (in Louisiana), then we would work with those agencies to share our information,” Mayfield said. “But we have no reason to believe anything happened over there — that’s just where the body washed up.”
Full autopsy reports will be returned next week, Mayfield said.
“This is certainly a tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Mayfield said. “You just hate to see these things happen.”