UPDATE: Identity of man found in Lake Hawkins released - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

UPDATE: Identity of man found in Lake Hawkins released

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - The Wood County Sheriff's Office has released the identity of a man found dead Saturday morning in Lake Hawkins.

The man was identified as Gene Vatin of Longview. According to a spokesperson with the Wood County Sheriff's Office, investigators are currently in Longview interviewing those who knew Vatin.

As of Monday morning, details surrounding Vatin's death are limited. Authorities have not released the cause of his death.

Residents of a quiet Hawkins area community make a gruesome discovery this morning the body of a man is found floating near a lake shoreline. Wood county sheriffs office investigators , assisted by Texas game wardens, were at the scene just before 9 this morning, on the north shore of Lake Hawkins near county road 3440 and county road 3476. The discovery of an elderly man's body floating in shallow water on the lakes north shore, started with a curious report.

"We got a report that there was a vehicle abandoned in the middle of the road on county road 3440, we began to approach the vehicle when we received another call stating that someone had discovered a body floating in the water," says Wood county sheriffs office lieutenant Jerry Blalock.

The man's body was found close to a pier, but that's where more questions arise.

"We do not know if its accidental drowning somebody just fell into the water or foul play or not we don't know," Blalock says.

Why had the victim left his truck in road?

"We don't believe the victim was in the water very long," he says.

Investigators say it doesn't fit usual scenarios of an accident or suicide. The key may be the truck left in the roadway, which may hold evidence as to what happened.

"The only thing we're concerned about right now is we found the vehicle in the middle of the roadway, which is obviously not appropriate for a vehicle just to be parked in the middle of the roadway and then somebody be in the water a few yards away," Blalock says.

Deputies combed through the truck looking for anything that would provide an answer. We've learned in the last hour that Wood county officials are now treating this as an accident, but have not ruled out foul play. The man's name, and his cause of death has not been released. The body has been sent to Dallas for autopsy.

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