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Body found in river identified

Police do not suspect foul play in man’s death

November 15, 2012
By Anthony Gaynor - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

The Elkins Police Department announced Wednesday the body found in the Tygart River Monday has been identified.

Elkins Police Chief H.R. White said Wednesday the body of Jody Coontz, 41, of Easy Street, was discovered in the river by his department.

"Our investigation is ongoing, but we do not suspect foul play," White said.

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"It appears to be accidental."

White said Coontz's mother called the police department Sunday and reported her son was missing. White said officers attempted to locate Coontz, but had no success.

"On Nov. 12 at 12:57 p.m., Patrolman M.J. Sigley was on Barron Avenue and discovered the body in the river," White said. "He contacted EMS (Randolph County Emergency Squad) and the Elkins Fire Department for assistance."

The fire department launched a small boat, owned by one of the department's members, from the Scott Ford Road boat launch, and retrieved the body from the water.

The death of Coontz has inspired an outpouring of sympathy on social networking sites. On Facebook, friends remembered him as a good and caring person.

"The day I met you I could tell you had the biggest heart in the world," Lauren Noelle Starkey wrote on Coontz's Facebook page.

"I know you touched many people and you were very loved."

"You were a great friend and person, you will be missed dearly," Jeff Paugh wrote of Coontz, a longtime musician. "Now you can play music for all in heaven."



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