A 79-year-old Kansas City, Kan., man whose body was found early Thursday in calf-deep water at Clinton Lake died from drowning, the Douglas County coroner said today.
The victim, James L. Cunningham Sr., was in excellent physical health and suffered no injuries other than those related to the drowning, Dr. Carol Moddrell said.
Authorities said they could only speculate about the sequence of events that led to Cunningham's death.
Douglas County sheriff's Lt. Mike Suitt said Cunningham apparently drove into the lake after becoming lost and confused.
"He may have gotten cold and exhausted and fell," he said. "But that's just an assumption."
Moddrell said her autopsy also gave no clues about what led to Cunningham's drowning. She said he was dressed adequately for cold weather, wearing a khaki shirt and pants, long underwear and a jacket.
Suitt said there were no signs of foul play. He said Cunningham was carrying cash he had obtained Monday from a bank.
Authorities this morning reported that Cunningham had been reported missing Monday by family members who last saw him on Sunday when they took him to church.
Suitt said family members told authorities that Cunningham was having problems with his memory.
He said it appeared Cunningham may have accidentally wandered into the county. Cunningham was carrying no fishing poles or camping gear, Suitt said, so it didn't look as if he had planned to come to the lake.
His car was found Thursday morning by two duck hunters yards away from Douglas County 2, which leads to the water's edge.
Neither Suitt nor Moddrell knew how long Cunningham's body had been in the lake before it was found.