Juneau man found dead in Gastineau Channel

The area where police recovered the body of Ricardo Willard (Photo by Kavitha George / KTOO)

A 53-year-old Juneau man named Ricardo Willard was found dead in Gastineau Channel Sunday afternoon, close to the U.S. Coast Guard Station, according to the Juneau Police Department.

“There was nothing suspicious, no signs of injury, no obvious signs of foul play,” JPD Officer Nick Garza said. “At this point, we’re not sure how Mr. Willard ended up in the water, but at this point we don’t have any reason to believe that foul play was involved.”

According to police, a pedestrian walking on the path on Egan Drive across from the Prospector Hotel saw the body floating about 50 feet from shore between 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. The pedestrian notified police, who arrived on the scene with Capital City Fire/Rescue (CCFR). CCFR declared Willard dead at the scene. Officer Garza said JPD was in contact with the Coast Guard to request assistance recovering the body, but ultimately JPD recovered it themselves.

JPD is unsure of how Willard ended up in the water, and had no missing person reports on him prior to the discovery. Garza said his body is being sent to Anchorage Sunday evening or Monday so a medical examiner can complete an autopsy.

“The medical examiner’s office, post-autopsy, might give us a clearer picture on what happened. We’ll be awaiting that information and the results of the complete investigation,” Garza said.

Willard’s family, who live in Juneau, have been notified.

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