Body found floating in water near Blake Island

Two boaters discovered a dead body floating near Blake Island just after 1 p.m. Sunday.

The boaters, a man from Gig Harbor and a man from Federal Way, tried to retrieve the body but could not lift it on board. Instead, they contacted a Blake Island Park Ranger who, in turn, called CenCom.

“It’s really hard to pull a body from the water,” said Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer. “It’s solid dead weight.”

Although several police agencies responded, Kitsap County Sheriffs Department is handling the case. As of Monday, the man had not yet been identified. However, Boyer said deputies are trying to track down any possible missing-person leads and developing cause-of-death theories.

The man is estimated to be between 30 and 35 years old, six feet tall with short brown hair and medium build. When he was found, he was wearing a white T-shirt, a flannel shirt, gray shorts and one white sock.

Boyer said the man had scratches on his arms and blood exuding from his mouth and ears.

Boyer proposed two theories as to how the man could have died. One was that the man lived aboard a private boat and fell overboard by accident. The other was that the man committed suicide by jumping off the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Although the bridge is several miles south of Blake Island, Boyer pointed out the strong tides in that part of the sound which could have carried the body to Blake.

So far, deputies have not found any abandoned pleasure craft in the vicinity. In addition, Boyer said the bloody ears and mouth are consistent with severe impact to the body, as when someone hits water after falling from a great height.

However, Boyer emphasized that the autopsy has not yet been completed, and any theories are just that — theories.

“I would stress it’s hypothetical at this point,” he said. “If it’s a suicide, it’s tragic and sad. If it’s a crime of violence, we’ll keep investigating. Until we know for sure, we’ll treat it as suspicious.”

The autopsy report, which was released Wednesday afternoon, found no indications of foul play, such as blunt force trauma or stab wounds.

There have been no local missing person reports matching the man’s description and Boyer said the first priority is to contact the man’s family.

Deputies will also be checking the vicinity of the Narrows Bridge for abandoned vehicles or other signs of a possible suicide.

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