Body in canal spurs investigation

BEVERLY – The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a Malta man whose body was discovered floating in the lock canal behind the Valley Inn along Ohio 60 in Beverly on Sunday afternoon.

The body of John L. Duncan, 39, of 1055 North Riverview Road, Malta, was found in the canal on the Muskingum River around 12:43 p.m. Sunday, and had probably been there overnight, according to Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

Mincks said Duncan had been among several men who were involved in a fight in the bar parking lot around 10 p.m. Saturday, but it is not clear whether Duncan’s death was related to that altercation.

“The body has been sent to the Montgomery (County) medical examiner’s office for an autopsy,” Mincks said. “The cause of death will have some bearing on the investigation, as well as a toxicology report.”

Witnesses said all of the men involved in the fight were apparently highly intoxicated. One arrest has been made as a result of that fight, Mincks said, but it was not related to Duncan’s death.

Timothy S. Wines, 42, of 70 Anderson Lane, Waterford, was arrested for assault and placed in the Washington County Jail on Sunday after deputies determined he had struck a friend of Duncan, James Bywater, in the head.

According to the affidavit of facts, Bywater had received a large gash over his left eye during the Saturday night altercation in the bar parking lot. Wines denied the assault, but footage from a bar surveillance tape later showed Wines had indeed struck Bywater in the head, officials said.

Wines remained in jail Sunday night on that assault charge.

Mincks said the investigation into Duncan’s death is continuing, and no further charges have been filed.