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Third body found days after vehicle crash near Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

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    Authorities find a third body from Tuesday's fatal crash on Metzger Marsh Rd. in Jerusalem Township on December 28.

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    Kevin Newsome, Wildlife Officer Supervisor, with the Division of Wildlife, at the scene where a third body from Tuesday's fatal crash on Metzger Marsh Rd. in Jerusalem Township on December 28.

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Search crews on Thursday returned to the site of a fatal watery crash in Lucas County’s Jerusalem Township, where they pulled a third body from beneath the ice two days after they recovered a dead man and woman.

First responders again looked into the canal alongside Metzger Marsh Road in the frigid morning hours Thursday. A backhoe and ambulance were stationed on the snow-covered road, which sits just feet above the water.

Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner, identified the third person as James Landeru, 61. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

Firefighters initially responded to a submerged vehicle about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday near the Cooley Canal Yacht Club. Inside were driver Joshua Cassady, 41, and passenger Kimberly Cassady, 51, both of Toledo. They were pronounced dead on the scene. Dr. Patrick said the pair showed evidence of drowning with no significant blunt-force trauma, but a final cause-of-death determination will not be made until toxicology reports are complete.

Lucas County probate records show they married last February and Tuesday was Mr. Cassady’s birthday. Dr. Patrick identified Mr. Landeru as Mr. Cassady's stepfather.

 

RELATED: 2 found dead in submerged vehicle identified 

 

VIDEO: Two bodies were found Tuesday in Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

Their car traveled northbound on Metzger Marsh Road when it went off the left side of the road. It struck an embankment and overturned in the water, troopers said.

A dog in the vehicle survived.

Lt. Shaun Robinson, commander of the Ohio Highway Patrol's Toledo post, said authorities did not know to look for a third person until neighbors expressed concern about another individual missing from a shared home on Hausman Street in Toledo.

The Jerusalem Township Fire and Rescue Department then returned about 8:30 a.m. Thursday to conduct another water search. They found the third body outside the vehicle near the crash scene under the ice, Lieutenant Robinson said. 

He added responders could not see throug the ice when they first were dispatched to the crash.

“There was no visibility,” he said.

Officials believe the man may be a relative of the two others, according to police dispatch. His name was withheld Thursday pending family notification.

Investigators have not determined why Mr. Cassady and Ms. Cassady were at the canal. Witnesses found their car after the crash.

Sheila Perkins, a neighbor who lived near the couple in North Toledo, said she long hoped the best for them and was saddened by the crash.

“It's just a horrible way to go. Out there by yourself like that, waiting on somebody to find you,” Ms. Perkins, 52, said.

Ms. Perkins said she saw Mr. Cassady leave his home in a hurry not long before the crash, but was unsure where he was traveling. It seemed unlike them to go to the canal in the freezing cold, she said.

“As soon as you hit that water, you're thinking to escape. There's no way you can escape. There's just no way. That's sad,” Ms. Perkins said.

Discovery of the third victim from the Metzger Marsh crash brought the total number of traffic fatalities in Lucas County to 50 this year, the patrol reported.

Staff Lt. Jerrod Savidge, the assistant district commander at the patrol's Findlay District headquarters, said the patrol has been focusing on more traffic-safety efforts in the Toledo metro area because it accounts for nearly half the traffic deaths in the entire 12-county district.

"We've been doing a lot of cooperative enforcement with the [Toledo Police Department]," the lieutenant said. "We have a great partnership with them."

Staff writers Allison Reamer and David Patch contributed to this report.

Contact Ryan Dunn at rdunn@theblade.com, 419-724-6095, or on Twitter @RDunnBlade.

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