Updated: Body Found at Fridley's Springbrook Nature Center
No obvious sign of foul play in death of 77-year-old Fridley man who walked regularly in the park.
A park visitor at Springbrook Nature Center found the body of a 77-year-old Fridley man in the northwest part of the pond at about 10:15 a.m. Monday, according to the Anoka County Sheriff's office. (See updates below.)
There was no obvious indication of trauma or foul play in the death of the man who Comm. Paul Sommer of the sheriff's office described tenatively as a white male who frequently visited the park. Friends last saw the man at another location at about 9 a.m. Monday.
Fridley police responded to the scene then called the sheriff's office, whose dive team at about 1:30 p.m. recovered the body floating about 10 feet from a wooden trail built over the water, Sommer said.
Results of an autopsy should be available tomorrow, Sommer said, and the Sheriff's office will make his identity public later Monday.
Update (4:15 p.m.): Lt. Mike Monsrud of the Fridley Police Department said his department is jointly investigating the death with the sheriff's office and the Anoka County Medical Examiner's office. Fridley police are not searching for any suspects in relation to the death and there is no threat of harm to the community, Monsrud said.
The deceased man lived in the area of the park, according to a statement from the sheriff's office late Monday afternoon. The investigation will continue until authorities firmly rule out foul play, the statement said.
Update (5 p.m.): The deceased man lived at Banfill Crossing Senior Adult Community, 8310 University Ave. NE, according to nature center director Siah St. Clair.
Many who live at Banfill Crossing regularly travel the mile or less distance to visit the park, St. Clair said.
It is the first death to occur at the park in the 33 years that St. Clair has served as director, he said. He said no one has even fallen in the pond before, to his knowledge—except for "a few kids who claimed to have fallen in while doing a pond study when it was 98 degrees," he said.
The man's body was floating in the northwest corner of the nature center's pond near a wooden path that itself floats on the water's surface. The floating boardwalk was built in the winter of 1987-88, said St. Clair.
Center staff, including St. Clair, sometimes need to do maintenance work on the trail's walking surface or railing.
"Every once in a while" a board breaks or rowdy visitors push down a railing, but the boardwalk is in good repair area where the body was found, he said.
The depth of the water where the man was floating is "not very deep—about 3 or 4 feet," St. Clair said, with the pond's bottom "pretty mucky" and "peaty."
Update III (5:30 p.m.): Lt. Monsrud of the Fridley Police Department said police calls to the nature center are infrequent: a "couple" reports each year of thefts from vehicles parked in the center's lot, occasional complaints of teenagers partying back in the park, and only very rarely—if ever—medical calls.