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Authorities launch investigation after body pulled from Palo Alto County lake

Authorities launch investigation after body pulled from Palo Alto County lake


EMMETSBURG, Iowa -- Authorities searched two residences in Emmetsburg and three vehicles Friday as part of an investigation into the discovery of a body, which was found in a lake near Ruthven, Iowa, last month.

According to a statement from the Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office, the body, which was later identified as 27-year-old Rollin J. Bontrager, of Washington, Iowa, was observed 25 feet from the shore of Virgin Lake on July 22. The sighting of the body was reported to the sheriff's office by a passerby at 1:16 p.m. that day. 

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was called and the body was removed from the lake and transported to the Iowa Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny, where an autopsy was performed. The medical examiner's final report will be released to law enforcement when testing is complete, according to the statement. 

On Friday, the statement said numerous items were seized after search warrants were executed at two residences in Emmetsburg. Three vehicles were also searched, according to the statement. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is urged to contact the sheriff's office at 712-852-3535.

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