Coroner: Body Not Victim of Foul Play
No one knows for sure, but some police and medical examiners say they believe the body belongs to 46-year-old Edward Acosta from Fort Leonard Wood, who went missing more than a month ago.
Coroners began the autopsy Monday but could not confirm the identity. Medical examiner Dr. Eddie Adelstein said he believes the death was accidental and found no signs of foul play, assault, or knife or gunshot wounds.
Due to the condition of the body it is being sent to an anthropologist for further examination. The full autopsy reports will take up to six weeks.
A Hampton Inn employee last saw Acosta on May 28th after he was released from University Hospital. Acosta went to the hospital after showing signs of a stroke.
Police found a hat, cell phone, and an envelope with paperwork at the top of the bluffs. Police will look at cell phone records to also help in identifying the body.
The medical examiners will continue the autopsy this week and will look at dental records and a bone examination after an anthropologist examines the bones. The examiner said he is unsure whether his stroke related condition contributed to the death but says he believes the man fell from the steep bluffs near Rock Quarry Road.
Police officials said they believe the fall contributed to his death and and the heavy woods and brush blocked the view of where the body fell. Police said they are unsure how long the body was in the creek before it was found but that the body was heavily skeletonized when they found it.
Ted Basford, a close friend of Acosta's who worked with him as a shriner in the Legion of Honor, said Acosta was a close friend and described him like a brother. Basford said if the coroner identifies the body as Acosta's he will be "very torn up" and that the people of Fort Leonard Wood will miss him because "everybody loved him."