ELYRIA — Dental records helped identify a badly decomposed body found Sunday in Lake Erie as missing boater Daniel Crowner, 44, of Wooster.
An autopsy Monday revealed that Crowner drowned during a fishing trip earlier this month, and Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller ruled that the death was accidental.
Investigators originally speculated that the 21-foot power boat Crowner was riding in with his brother, Christopher Crowner, 46, and their friend, Cass Monchilov, 46, both of Wooster, may have collided with a barge.
Miller said there were no signs of blunt impact trauma, however.
The body was found by a fishing vessel near East 185th Street in Cleveland, still clothed in the T-shirt and shorts Crowner was wearing when he disappeared near Kelleys Island on Sept. 2.
Miller said Crowner was sunburned and corroded by bacteria, making him difficult to identify visually.
“We’re all devastated. This is the hardest thing any of us have ever faced,” said Edith Crowner, mother of Daniel and Christopher.
Monchilov’s body was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard after a three-day search, but Christopher Crowner has not been found.
Edith Crowner said the family had been praying that her boys would be found, and are now planning a memorial Mass for Daniel.
“Danny was a happy person, and he smiled a lot,” she said. “He was so precious to us. He was my youngest son and I love him.”
Daniel Crowner worked for Miller Supply in Wooster, and loved outdoor sports, fishing, hunting and playing with his dog, she said.
Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.