An autopsy to help understand why a 31-year-old man drowned in the Animas River earlier this week came up empty, said La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith.
Michael Flanagan of La Plata County was found dead around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the river behind Escalante Middle School in south Durango.
Flanagan was found by a passing commercial rafting trip. The rafting guide pulled over downstream, waded upriver and was able to pull the body to shore.
After an initial investigation, it appeared Flanagan had been in the water about an hour to an hour and a half before he was found. He was wearing jeans and a shirt.
Smith said Flanagan died as a result of drowning, but what led to his death remains unclear.
There were no obvious signs of trauma, and authorities don’t suspect foul play.
Smith had hoped an autopsy would reveal more about Flanagan’s death.
“He did drown, but whether something contributed to the actual reason that he went in the river and drowned, it’s going to have to come down to a toxicology,” she said.
Through a toxicology, authorities can see whether factors such as drugs or alcohol played a role in the drowning. Smith said it could take about four weeks to receive test results.
To date, no one has come forward who may have seen Flanagan in the river, Smith said. Flanagan has ties to Durango and has been living here for a while, she said. Next of kin, who are based on the East Coast, have been notified.