TEA, Mo., — Pending results of a toxicology report following an autopsy conducted last week on Bernard F. Mahacek, 77, of Rosebud, the county’s coroner expects the cause of death to be …
TEA, Mo., — Pending results of a toxicology report following an autopsy conducted last week on Bernard F. Mahacek, 77, of Rosebud, the county’s coroner expects the cause of death to be drowning.
“We think it kind of looks like he drowned,” said Benjamin Grosse, coroner for Gasconade County. Grosse said he sought an autopsy to “eliminate causes” which could not be proven at the scene.
Mahacek was last seen on Monday morning (Oct. 28) visiting the residence of the landowner on whose property his body was discovered three days later on Thursday (Oct. 31). The landowner was not at home but spoke briefly with the man’s girlfriend at around 10:30 a.m., according to Gasconade County Sheriff’s Capt. Mark A. Williams.
Williams was contacted by the property owner Thursday morning. The man had located Mahacek’s maroon 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser parked above an old clay pit which was out of sight from the private lane located off of the southern end of Thenhaus Road.
Williams and the property owner located Mahacek’s body in several feet of water on the lower end of the clay pit.
Williams said in all likelihood, Mahacek ended up in the water on Monday the 28th. His hat was found on a steep embankment about 10 to 15 feet above where his body was recovered by Owensville firemen.
Firemen wearing cold water rescue suits recovered his body by 12:05 p.m. which is the time Grosse recorded as the time of death.
Williams said there was “no obvious signs of trauma” to Mahacek’s body. The autopsy was requested by Grosse, he said, “just to error on the side of caution. And I agree with Ben.”
Grosse and Williams surveyed the scene together as firemen made the recovery. It appears Mahacek slipped and fell down the embankment and ended up in the water.
“That’s what is appears,” said Williams. “There were no signs of obvious abrasions.”
Williams said Mahecek lived alone on a 25-acre tract of land about five miles north on Thenhaus Road. A family member and a family friend had both contacted authorities last Wednesday evening, concerned they not heard from or seen him around in several days.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol early Thursday morning issued a “silver advisory” (State of Missouri Endangered Person Advisory) noting “Mahacek became depressed after receiving a recent medical diagnosis and has been suicidal in the past. He also left home without his cell phone or wallet.”
Grosse, however, said a niece of Mahacek’s disputed that assessment.
Grosse said he learned the recent medical diagnosis “wasn’t life-threatening” but was described as more of an “aggravating condition,” according to the family member.
“I don’t think that (suicide) was in his realm of conversation,” said Grosse based what he was told. “He was kind of in an ‘aggravated way,’ about the symptoms he was having. He was kind of tired of fighting.”
A family member who contacted The Republican said they were notified it appeared he slipped and fell.