March 5, 2009

Police: Man found in river died from drowning

Racine police said Thursday the man found this week in the Root River likely died from drowning. OK, that sounds obvious. But there were legitimate questions about the circumstances of Thurman Golden's death, and some that have yet to be answered.

The big question is how Golden ended up in the river. A construction worker discovered Golden's car in the Root River today and police found skid marks near the river. It all suggests the victim drove into the river. What's unknown is if Golden died in the car or drowned in the river current after escaping the car.

Here's the full Racine police press release:
UPDATE: Death of Missing Adult Believed to be Drowning

The preliminary results of the medical examination completed on Thurman Golden indicate that the cause of death was most likely drowning. A toxicology panel is being completed, but the results of that could be weeks away. The details as to whether Mr. Golden had died while in the vehicle in the river or had pulled himself out of the vehicle and was overwhelmed by the rivers’ current is not known at this time.

At 7:33AM this morning, construction workers on a lift station project at Spring & Luedtke observed a vehicle partially submerged in the Root River nearby. Police and Fire personnel responded and with the use of Fire Department divers and Floyds Towing, the vehicle had been removed from the Root River. The vehicle was taken to the Racine Police Department garage where investigators and criminalists will examine it for indicators that may lead to a conclusion as to what happened.

There were tiremarks in Lincoln Park on a curve that indicate a vehicle had been driving east through the park from the direction of Jefferson St. Those tiremarks are indicative of a vehicle that had failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway, leaving the roadway and possibly entering the river west of the footbridge that leads to Spring St from the park. The vehicle was located approximately ¼ mile east of the area of the tiremarks.

On Wednesday, a fisherman reported spotting a body near the intersection of Rupert Bl and Kinzie Av in the Root River. Officers that responded to the scene did confirm the presence of a body of a male in his 50’s. The victim was removed from the water and a wallet found on the victim provided a tentative identification of the victim as Thurman Golden (01-04-52) of Racine.

Police officials have confirmed the identity of the victim as Thurman Golden. He was reported missing by family members on Saturday (02-28-09). The last time Mr Golden had been seen was at 1:45AM on Friday morning after he had dropped off a pair of fellow bar patrons from the American Legion located at1234 Douglas Av. Investigators had been assigned to look in to the disappearance of Mr Golden and his vehicle.
The victim had been transported to the Waukesha County Medical Examiners Office pending an autopsy scheduled for 03-05-09. At that point, it was not possible to determine the circumstances leading to his death, nor the date or time of death.

If anyone has any information that could aid investigators, they are asked to forward tips through the Crimestoppers, Inc website, phone (262-636-9330), or by texting to CRIMES (274637) and referring to Tipsoft I.D.# TIP417 with your text message.

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