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Published: Wednesday, 9/7/2011 - Updated: 4 years ago

Put-in-Bay death probed as homicide


PUT-IN-BAY, OHIO -- Authorities are investigating the death of a 25-year-old Westlake, Ohio, man found in a wooded area at Put-in-Bay Tuesday.

The death is being investigated as a homicide, but no ruling has been made, Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton said. "We're going to treat this as a murder because that's how you have to treat these things, but we don't want to jump to any conclusions," he said.

The man, Phil Masterson, was found by his family about 3 p.m. Tuesday. They reported him missing early Sunday morning, but it was unclear if the family was there looking for him or if they had all been visiting the Lake Erie island for the long weekend.

Mr. Masterson was last seen leaving an island brewery and headed to 4 Foxes Den, according to a missing-person report from the Put-in-Bay Police Department.

The sheriff said the man did had markings on him, but it's unclear if those are from a fall or foul play. A tarp was found near the body, but, again, the sheriff cautioned it's unknown what role the tarp may have had. The sheriff said no weapons were found near the body, but detectives, officers, and police were investigating.

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