The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 5, 2013

Cause of man’s death remains out; test results awaited

— The preliminary findings of an autopsy performed on the body of a Joplin man who was found Sunday in Shoal Creek were inconclusive as to the cause of his death.

Charles E. Oakes, 51, is presumed to have drowned. But the pathologist who conducted an autopsy Wednesday at the Springfield Mortuary Service could not confirm drowning as the cause of death by examination of the body alone.

Chief Deputy Chris Jennings of the Newton County Sheriff’s Department said the pathologist is awaiting the results of toxicology tests, expected to take about six weeks, before forming a final opinion as to cause of death.

Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges said the pathologist did find that there were no injuries to the body that would account for the death. But the possibility of a toxicological cause must be eliminated before he can rule the death an apparent drowning, Bridges said.