- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The cause and manner of a Virginia man’s death remained under investigation this week by authorities who report his body was found Sunday morning in the Patuxent River, three days after he went into the water during an overnight visit with friends to Myrtle Point Park.
Selvin A. Vasquez, 22, of Alexandria, Va., was not reported missing until about 12 hours after he waded into the river at 5 a.m. last Thursday, according to St. Mary’s detectives. The preliminary investigation has yielded no indications, detectives report, of anything suspicious in Vasquez’s death.
Vasquez and three or four companions arrived at the park after the park’s closing time last Wednesday night, a senior investigator said, and after their night of fishing, Vasquez decided to take a “quick swim” as the group cleaned up their gear.
“He went out into the water and disappeared,” Lt. David Yingling said this week. “When they looked up, he was just gone.”
Vasquez’s companions initially tried to find him on their own, Yingling said. It was late Thursday afternoon when the missing man’s family contacted Maryland State Police.
Detectives coordinated a search, assisted by Maryland Natural Resources Police and a Maryland State Police helicopter crew.
At about 8 a.m. Sunday, a fisherman spotted Vasquez’s body in the river, according to detectives.
Employees at the state medical examiner’s office in Baltimore said this week after an initial autopsy that the cause and manner of Vasquez’s death has not been determined.
“There’s nothing to indicate it was anything other than a tragic accident,” Yingling said, and confirming that initial indication remains the focus of the ongoing investigation.
Lt. Shawn Garren of the natural resources police said Tuesday that Vasquez’s companions returned to Virginia before they told his family members that he was missing, and that the family members contacted law enforcement officers in Calvert County.
“Apparently, there was a major language barrier,” Garren said. “There were some issues in determining where the drowning occurred.”
Yingling said he would not speculate on why authorities were not immediately notified by Vasquez’s companions, noting that none of them were wanted in connection with or are suspected of any criminal activity, “other than trespassing in the park after hours.”
Garren said the reporting delay, in this case, likely made no difference in Vasquez’s chances of survival or how soon his body was found.
“I don’t think that would have made a difference in recovering the subject any faster,” he said.
Nevertheless, as a general rule, authorities stressed the need for the public to promptly report when someone is missing, on land or water.
“It can make the difference between life and death,” Yingling said.