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Lake Somerville body identified, autopsy results released

Posted at 10:21 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 23:38:10-04

SOMERVILLE, Texas — Police are continuing to investigate the death of 26-year-old Jim Ross Cole of Round Top, who has now been identified after his body was found floating in Lake Somerville Monday morning.

According to the Burleson County Sheriff's Office, investigators determined that Cole drove to the lake alone during the weekend, purchasing a day pass. His body was found floating several dozen meters away from the shore by a lake visitor Monday morning after police believed the remains had been in the water for more than 24 hours.

“We just received word from an investigator who attended the autopsy this morning that the preliminary results are consistent with drowning," BCSO Chief Deputy John Pollock, told KRHD. "They will have to do toxicology before the medical examiner will give a final ruling.”

Chief Pollock said that Cole hadn’t sustained any significant wounds. He was fully clothed in sweat pants, a t-shirt and socks when he was found. No fishing, boating or camping gear was found where his truck was parked offshore, nor did officers uncover drugs or alcohol in the vehicle.

Investigators do not suspect foul play, but have not ruled out any possibility.

“So we kind of start narrowing down our possibilities," Pollock said. "We don’t have any indication that this is a suicide at this point, but we just don’t have enough information to know. And we may never know.”

Police hope those toxicology reports will help shed light on the victim’s physical state when he entered the water.

Officers did investigate three Lake Somerville drownings back in the summer of 2020, including one that occurred that Memorial Day. Cole's case is unique.

“We kind of had to work this one backwards," said Pollock. "Typically you have someone swimming with someone else, and either they see them go into the water, or they don’t come out.”

Pollock noted that the sheriff’s office did not interview everyone who checked in at the lake over the weekend, which they would have done if this were a homicide investigation.

If anyone believes they have information that might help in this case, however, they can contact the Burleson County Sheriff’s office at (979) 567-4343, or submit an anonymous tip to Burleson County Crime Stoppers at (979) 567-TIPS.