Staunton Police say the elderly man found just off the Interstate Wednesday was the missing New York man they were searching for. On Thursday, the family of 81-year-old Robert Haney came to Staunton and identified the body as Haney. Right now, police say it appears foul play was not involved.
On Wednesday, search dogs led police to Lewis Creek, just off I-81 near mile marker 224. It was from there that the body of 81-year-old Robert Haney was retrieved. Haney had been listed missing by family in New York on Monday. His van had been towed by State Police Sunday.
When Haney was found, he was not wearing any clothes. Staunton Police say though they'll never know quite why, there is a possible explanation.
"Well, the Medical Examiner's Office has explained it to us that it could be possibly that once you go into hypothermia, that you feel really warm and maybe even hot. So that it could have been that he took his clothes off because he was feeling the effects of the hypothermia," said Officer Amy Pultz.
Also on Thursday, The Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke indicated that the cause of death was accidental drowning as the result of hypothermia. The death is still under investigation, but should be done in the next few days.