Investigation ongoing after body found at city pool

Published: Dec. 3, 2015 at 6:51 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2015 at 10:14 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla._Lawton police are investigating the death of a homeless man after his body was discovered inside a shed at the Lawton Municipal Pool.

Police say the gruesome discovery was made around 10:00 a.m. Thursday by another homeless man who went to the shed to visit his friend, and found him dead. He ran next door to a pawn shop where he asked employees to call 911. He said his friend often stayed in the pool shed at Southwest 11th Street and Park Avenue to keep out from the elements.

Police are not ready to call it a homicide just yet. They say right now they're still trying to determine how he died, and that every death is investigated as a crime until evidence proves otherwise.

Margaret Wolfenbarger has worked at the pawn shop for 37 years and has seen her fair share of bizarre incidents in the area, but this one was a first.

"I've never had anyone come in and say they found a dead body. No, that was a first. I asked him if he knew him and he said 'yea.' They were coming to check on him, but they found him dead. They said he looked like he was beat," Wolfenbarger said.

Wolfenbarger said after she called 911, the victim's friend asked her for a cigarette and for her to charge his cell phone. Shortly later, several officers arrived and began scouring the scene for evidence.

Lawton Police Captain Craig Akard says the department collected as much evidence as they could while waiting on the medical examiner.

"There's no way we can determine anything right now because of the way the body is situated. We have to wait until the ME's office gets here," Capt. Akard explained.

Three people at the scene were taken into custody for further questioning, but Capt. Akard says none of them were able to provide investigators with information or clues that could help them figure out what happened.

"There's really no signs of anything on the outside of the building, so right now we don't have anything to go on on what caused his death," Capt. Akard said.

However, they were able to give police some idea of who the man might be.

"We do have a possible identification from some of the other people around the area that know him, but until we find something with positive identification we can't release anything," Capt. Akard said.

Wolfenbarger says the incident has her a little shaken up and worried about the community.

"I don't know what I felt, just strange I guess. That someone comes in here and says 'I found a dead body,' it's just too close to home. So, people need to be careful. There's too much meanness," Wolfenbarger said.

The investigation is still ongoing and more information won't be available until the medical examiner completes their investigation.