Crime & Courts

Coroner identifies Gaston man after drowning in Saluda River

The Lexington County Coroner identified a man who is believed to have drowned in the Saluda River near the Riverbanks Zoo on Sunday.

William John Leeman, 43, of Gaston was pulled from the water, according to Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher.

Leeman was discovered by a person in a canoe and CPR was administered before he was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, Fisher said.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, according to Fisher, adding the case remains under the investigation.

This is the second drowning in the Saluda River this week. Earlier Sunday Richland County Coroner Gary Watts identified a man who drowned in the Saluda River after going under the water near Riverbanks Zoo.

The body of Deslin Lamar Mitchell, 27, was pulled from the Saluda River around 2:15 p.m. Saturday, Watts said. Mitchell, who lived on Brown Street in West Columbia, went missing Friday in the water behind Riverbanks Zoo near Wildlife Parkway.

“How Mr. Mitchell ended up in the river is not clear at this time,” Watts said in a release. “An autopsy indicated the cause of death was due to drowning.”

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