January 13, 2012

Major Crimes detective works two death investigations

Lower Keys – A diver death and a man found floating in the water offshore of Higg’s Beach have kept Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo busy this afternoon.

At 11:20 a.m., Detective Cuervo responded to Front Street on Stock Island, where a diver was being brought in unresponsive, not breathing. Paramedics responded as well and transported the Ohio man to Lower Keys Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was on board a commercial dive vessel; he and a group of divers on the boat were doing a “test dive” in about 30 feet of water in preparation for a later dive on the Vandenberg. Other divers in the group said he surfaced and gave the “OK” sign, but when they saw him  just minutes later, he was floating on the surface of the water, not breathing. Detective Cuervo is attempting to reach his family to notify them of his death. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

Just 20 minutes later, Key West Police notified Sheriff’s dispatchers of a man’s body, found about 400 – 500 yards offshore of the Higg’s Beach / White Street Pier area of Key West. A jet skier in that area found the man floating in the water. Key West Police recovered the body and took it to the U.S. Coast Guard station, where Detective Cuervo met them to conduct his investigation.

According to the detective, there is no obvious sign of foul play in evidence on the body. There is also no identification on the body, so Detective Cuervo is hoping someone will recognize his description. He is a white male, late 40s to late 50s with medium length salt and pepper hair. He is about 5’10” to 6’ tall and weighs in the neighborhood of 250 pounds. He is wearing blue jeans, a brown “Key West” t-shirt, tucked in, with a brown belt. On his feet, he was wearing “water shoes”. On his left ring finger is a small key ring, worn like a ring. He may have been in the water anywhere from 6 to 12 hours.

Anyone with information about the man’s identity should contact the Sheriff’s office immediately.

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