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North Oconee River body identified, cause of death unknown

By Joe Johnson

The man whose body was found Sunday in the North Oconee River has been identified as 62-year-old James Randall Seay, who authorities say was homeless just prior to his death.

Athens-Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson has ordered an autopsy be performed at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's State Crime Lab to determine how the man died.

"Full autopsy with toxicology and histology to determine cause and manner of death." he said.

Wilson said he was unable to find family members who could give background as to where Seay was originally from and why he was in Athens. The number of the man's Social Security card indicates that he had been born in Georgia.

"I was not able to locate any one who would say they were related to him," the coroner said. "He is definitely a homeless person as he has been shown to be homeless in several other locations by law enforcement."

A passerby on the North Avenue bridge spotted Seay's body in about five feet of water in an area of the river where homeless people are known to establish camps.

Wilson estimated that the body had been in the water "for a short time, possibly no longer than a couple of days."

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