Man found dead near Florence

A Marion County man was found dead May 2 at about 3:30 p.m. in a stone out-building in the eastern part of the county.

It is also one of six recent unattended deaths in the county during the past week, and the only one still under investigation, according to Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft.

?We don?t know if this was a natural or unnatural death until all the results are in,? Craft said about the May 2 discovery.

Law enforcement officials are not releasing the man?s name until positive identification is made, but according to Craft, the body could be that of an individual missing since February.

The body was discovered by Craft, Marion Police Chief Josh Whitwell and Marion Police Sgt. Clinton Jeffrey.

?We conducted a search around the area of 160th and Xavier after a report of a missing person, possibly in that area,? Craft said.

Once the body was discovered, Craft said, Marion County coroner Don Hodson was called to the scene at 4:45 p.m. and pronounced the man dead.

A request for assistance was sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to help in the death investigation.

?Special agents from the KBI arrived with a mobile crime scene vehicle and assisted with processing the scene and collecting forensic evidence,? Craft said.

Even though Craft and other officers said they believe it?s a good chance this is the missing person from February, tests are being conducted to make sure.

In March, the Marion police took a report on an individual who had gone missing in Feb?ruary.

Until the investigation is completed, no information on the man?s identity will be released.

No suspicious circumstances

The most recent unattended death was May 8, when the Marion County sheriff?s office was notified about the body of Jeffrey S. Raskopf, 45, of Pea?body.

Craft said his office was called about 3:30 p.m. to 2011 Nighthawk regarding an unattended death, which is any death that no one witnesses.

Even though Raskopf?s death remains under investigation, Craft said forensic science personnel in Wichita are ?very confident? the death was natural and had something to do with the man?s heart.

In addition to the sheriff?s office and coroner at the scene, Marion County Emergency Medical Services and the KBI were also called.

Three other unattended deaths were reported last week, but none were suspicious.

Frank Patton, 90, of Tampa died May 2 at his home. When neighbors hadn?t seen him, Craft said, they called authorities.

Bill Schimpf, 60, who lived alone in rural Marion, died April 27, but wasn?t found until May 6 when a neighbor checked on him.

Another incident involved an 83-year-old Lincolnville man who was considered an unattended death even though his family was nearby, he said.

In the coroner?s investigation, Craft said, the man died of natural causes. His name was unavailable at press time.

The sixth incident happened May 2 at Marion Reservoir when a 70-year-old Hutchinson man drowned due to high winds. Carl C. Elder was later found near French Creek Cove.

Elder and two other people, Richard Wood, 43, and Michael Ballinger, 30, also of Hutchinson were boating in the reservoir when the boat became disabled in the high winds, Craft said.

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