Foul play not suspected after man found dead

Police: Video showing the body eventually uploaded to Facebook

The body of a 66-year-old man was found Tuesday morning in Palatka, but authorities said his death did not appear to be suspicious.

The Palatka Police Department received a call about the dead body about 8:50 a.m. Tuesday, and when officers arrived at the scene, they found the body of Gerald James, police Capt. Matt Newcomb said. 

Authorities said James’ body was found on Moody Road between Barrington Apartments and Capital City Bank. As of Tuesday afternoon, Newcomb said, it was unknown if James resided in Barrington.

“There were no suspicious circumstances to it,” he said of the scene. “He did not have any specific injuries to his body that would have us believe it was foul play.”

Although foul play wasn’t suspected, Newcomb said, a medical examiner was on scene to investigate James’ death. 

Later Tuesday, the body was sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Augustine. Newcomb said the police department would not investigate the death any further unless there was cause to do so. 

“Right now, we’re done with it unless the medical examiner calls us back and says it was foul play,” Newcomb said.

Another unsavory element played a role in Tuesday’s discovery. Before police arrived at the area where James died, the person who found the body made a recording that showed the body.

Police Chief Jason Shaw said that person then sent the video to “one or two” friends, one of whom posted it on Facebook.

Police contacted the person who posted the video and Facebook to get the video taken off social media, Shaw said. If someone were to find a dead body or come across an area he or she thinks is a crime scene, Shaw explained, that person should simply call 911 and make sure he or she is in a safe place. 

With the wide usage of smartphones, people may be tempted to make and post videos of gruesome scenes, Shaw said. But people should first think of who could be affected by such a video being created and publicly released, he said. 

“We ask them to call 911,” Shaw said. “… For the sake of the family – for the sake of young children – we ask that you not post these videos to social media.”

Palatka Daily News

1825 St. Johns Ave.
Palatka, FL 32177
(386) 312-5200


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