2013-04-22 / Front Page

Harpswell man’s death caused by drowning

BY DARCIE MOORE Times Record Staff


The state medical examiner says it was drowning that led to the death of a 28-year-old Harpswell man whose body was found Thursday morning on Bailey Island.

The body of Ryan Johnson, who lived with his mother in Harpswell, was found on the shore near Garrison Cove Road, according to Capt. Craig Smith of the Cumberland County Sheriff ’s Office.

Smith said there were no signs of trauma to the body and no sign of foul play.

Brandy Desrosier of the state medical examiner’s office said Friday the cause of death is drowning but that the manner of Johnson’s death remains under investigation.

A fisherman found Johnson’s body, on the shore and still partially in the water, at approximately 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Smith said. Johnson was last seen at approximately 7:30 a.m. Wednesday by his mother.

Smith said the sheriff ’s office will continue to investigate the case.

“We’ll check with other family and friends, and places he was known to hang out, to see if we can fill in the gaps between 7:30 Wednesday morning and 9:30 (a.m. Thursday).”

Lt. Donald Foss with the Cumberland County Sheriff ’s Office said this morning there are no new developments in the investigation of Johnson’s death, and that investigators will awaiting the medical examiner’s report after an autopsy that’s expected to take place today.

From there, “We would obviously determine if the facts and circumstances at the scene match the medical examiner’s findings.”

Foss, who was told Johnson worked in the marine industry in Harpswell, said “there are no indications that it is a suspicious death,” adding, “We can’t rule the manner of the death until we receive some guidance from the medical examiner,” whose job it is to determine the manner of death.

The medical examiner’s office said this morning they will autopsy Johnson’s body today and may know more later in the day.

Residents on Bailey Island were talking Thursday about the body found near Cook’s Lobster, theorizing what may have happened to the young man they say had had trouble with the law. No one wanted to speak on the record.

Employees at the Bailey Island General Store near his home had seen him the night before, but what happened between then and when he was found on the water’s edge Thursday just after the tide had started to go out will be up to investigators to unravel. dmoore@timesrecord.com

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