Sheriff: Edens body to undergo autopsy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2005

VIDALIA &8212; After a gut-wrenching week of searching for the missing Jonathan Edens, members of the community have begun to grieve the loss of the 19-year-old.

&8220;It&8217;s a terrible loss and the hearts of everyone in the department go out to the Edens family,&8221; Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell said.

Maxwell said the body would undergo an autopsy at the coroner&8217;s office before being returned to the family.

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The location of the body &8212; three miles from the scene of the accident &8212; makes Maxwell and other investigators think foul play was not a factor.

The farm access road near which he was found starts near the Bayou Cocodrie bridge, not far from where Edens&8217; truck was found last Thursday.

Maxwell thinks Edens, disoriented from the accident &8212; caused by a deer coming through his windshield &8212; stumbled over Louisiana 565 before finding the dirt road.

He may have been following the lights on the Angelina Plantation rice elevator back into Monterey when he died, Maxwell said.

The case will remain open, Maxwell said, should any new leads or contradictory evidence appear.

&8220;We have no reason to believe that it was anything other than an accident at this point in time, but that doesn&8217;t mean we&8217;re going to close the case out,&8221; he said.

Funeral arrangements will be made through Laird Funeral Home.

No date has been set, pending return of the body.

Two area banks, Concordia Bank and Trust and Delta Bank, have established special accounts to help the Edens family pay for burial expenses.

People interested in making donations can go to any branch of either bank and inquire either inside or at the drive-through.

The Edens family asked that their thanks be passed on to all those in the community who have helped them in their time of crisis.

&8220;Everybody in the sheriff&8217;s office, friends, family, volunteers, the media &8212; everybody&8217;s been wonderful and God will bless you all for everything you&8217;ve done,&8221; said Lana Edens, Jonathan&8217;s mother.

His older brother, Michael, said it meant a lot to the family that so many rallied around them.

&8220;Everybody who came out in boats, four-wheelers, helicopters to help us look. Thank you so much for the help.&8221;