Man whose body was found floating in the Susquehanna in Towanda had likely consumed bath salts
A 47-year-old man whose body was found floating nude in the Susquehanna River in Towanda on April 10 had likely consumed bath salts prior to his death, which would have contributed to his demise, the Bradford County coroner said.
"We have every suspicion that bath salts were used (by the man) prior to his death," Bradford County Coroner Tom Carman said on Thursday.
Carman said he has ruled the cause of the man's death as lethal arrhythmia, hypothermia, and "probable bath salt usage." The cause of death was recommended by the pathologist who performed the autopsy on the man at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y., Carman said.
The man, who has been identified as James J. Massey of Baytown, Texas, died accidentally after he jumped into the river, the coroner said.
The coroner said he received the autopsy report last week.
The use of bath salts commonly increases the body temperature of the people who use them, "so they have a desire to cool off," Carman said.
Therefore, "it is very common to find them (users of bath salts) by the water, and it is very common to find them nude," the coroner said.
Toxicology tests performed on Massey's body to detect the presence of drugs such as cocaine and heroin were negative, he said.
Additional toxicology tests were conducted to detect the presence of bath salts in Massey's system, the coroner said. Specifically, those tests looked for the presence of mephedrone and MDPV, which are components of bath salts, he said.
However, the tests did not reveal the presence of mephedrone and MDPV in Massey's system, the coroner said.
To not find mephedrone and MDPV in dead person's body does not mean that he or she wasn't under the influence of bath salts at the time of his or her death, the coroner said.
Testing for the presence of mephedrone and MDPV in a dead body is problematic, because mephedrone and MDPV dissipate over time, and therefore might not be detected in a toxicology test, he explained.
"To not find them (mephedrone and MDPV) is not unusual when the time of death was days prior to the discovery of the body," Carman said.
Massey's vehicle, with the keys in it, was discovered a number of days before his body was found, the coroner said.
On April 10, a 13-year-old boy had discovered Massey's body floating approximately 500 yards downriver from the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org