Video Report - Update: Authorities ID man found in Kingsport's Fort Patrick Henry Lake
Jul 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM
UPDATE - The man found in Fort Patrick Henry Lake on Wednesday was identified Thursday morning. The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office says he is Paul J. Phelps, 59, of Bristol, Tenn. The investigation continues, and an autopsy being conducted hopes to determine cause of death.
A second dead body has been pulled from Kingsport's Fort Patrick Henry Lake in less than a week.
Rescue personnel recovered a fully clothed, middle-aged white male from the lake at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Fishermen found the body at about 12:30 p.m., just north of the Interstate 81 bridge -- where a woman jumped to her death Friday.
According to Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson, the body had sustained head trauma. But that does not mean the death was a homicide, as there are many rocks located beneath the bridge. Click the box below for a video report.
"There's always the possibility this person might have taken their own life, but we don't know at this point," Anderson said.
As with last week's suicide, an empty automobile has been found along I-81 near the bridge. Anderson said it is not known yet if it belongs to the man found in the lake.
"We got an ID off him, a driver's license, but we have to confirm that's him before we release that," Anderson said.
If the family that officials have been speaking with confirm later tonight that the body is that of a relative they haven't seen since midnight, his identity will be released Thursday morning pending contact with all family members.
The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, Kingsport Police, Kingsport fire and rescue, Sullivan County EMS and members of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency searched for the body from a public boat launch in Warriors Path State Park.
Anyone who may have seen a man or a gray four-door Ford car on the northbound lanes of the Interstate 81 bridge around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday is asked to contact the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office at (423) 279-7500.