Spring River claims man's life

Thursday, May 8, 2003

The body of a Mammoth Spring man was recovered from the Spring River May 3.

Kenny Cotham found his father, Ralph Cotham, 67, at approximately 11:14 p.m. in the Spring River adjacent to Spring Lake Trail, which is located south of Mammoth Spring just off Highway 63, said Sgt. Mark Hollingsworth of the Arkansas State Police.

Family members contacted law enforcement officers after the victim was found, Hollingsworth said. The body was recovered approximately 21 feet from the river bank in about three feet of water.

The victim was last seen alive by his family in Mammoth Spring around 10:30 a.m. the previous day, Hollingsworth reported.

Cotham's vehicle was found near where the body was recovered, Hollingsworth said.

"He frequented that area of the river," Hollingsworth said. He said family members told him Cotham visited that area often because he was the caretaker of one of his friend's property.

Hollingsworth said the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, the Mammoth Springs Police Department and volunteers also assisted with the incident.

Cotham's body was released to the Fulton County coroner's office and later transferred to the State Crime Laboratory for an autopsy.

Hollingsworth said authorities do not suspect any foul play but the investigation is ongoing. He would not speculate on the cause of death. He said he was waiting further word from the medical examiner's office before he could release the cause of death.

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