Those traveling on Township Hwy 79 at Buckeye Lake in Perry County made a shocking discovery Tuesday afternoon.
"I took the boat over here across the bay to take it out on the ramp and when I got out the boat, there were already two guys there. They told me to check this out, what they thought they thought was a body," says local resident Mark Bernhard.
Bernhard says at first sight, they weren’t certain whether what they were looking at was really a body.
"They said it was either a body or a heck of a prank and I walked out to the end of the dock and it sure looked like one," says Bernhard.
That’s when they decided to call the Perry County Sheriff’s Office who dispatched the Thornville Fire Department to the scene at 12:36 p.m.
They along with Millersport, Licking, Glenford, and Heath Fire Departments, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confirmed that it was a body.
"We don’t know quite yet how long the body’s been there. We actually do have an identity on the individual but we have to make notification to the family," says Sheriff William Barker of the Perry County Sheriff’s Office.
Crews worked to recover what Sheriff Barker says is a white male around the age of 60 who is not local to the area. He says that the cause of death is currently not known. However, a rope was tied around the man’s neck.
"I can’t conclude that it’s suicide at this point until we actually do an autopsy to see what did cause the death," says Sheriff Barker.
Sheriff Barker says the man’s identification card was how they identified the body which will be taken to the Licking County Coroner where an autopsy will be conducted.
"From there we’ll be able to determine a little more about the cause of death."
Park Manager with Ohio State Parks, Tim Waln says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will lead the investigation once the cause of death is confirmed. The Perry County Sheriff’s Office will provide joint efforts.
Sheriff Barker says a bicycle found near the scene is believed to be connected to the incident.