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Published: Wednesday, 6/26/2002

New London biker's body is found off road

WAKEMAN, Ohio - The decomposed body of a New London man who was last seen June 8 at a local bar was found Monday in a grassy area along State Rt. 60.

The Ohio Highway Patrol has tentatively identified the man as Jeffery A. Hale, 42, who was operating a 1975 Harley Davidson motorcycle. Authorities believe Mr. Hale, who was southbound on the state route, was killed after his bike left the east side of the road and traveled down an embankment. The bike then struck a ditch and a tree, throwing Mr. Hale from the bike. He was not wearing a helmet.

Lt. Walt Poffenbaugh at the patrol's Norwalk post said yesterday an Ohio Department of Transportation worker saw Mr. Hale's bike while mowing just south of Auster Road. He immediately called authorities, who found the body near the bike about 3 p.m.

Lieutenant Poffenbaugh said Mr. Hale was identified based on information he had with him. Dr. Jeffrey Harwood, Huron County coroner, said coroners in Lucas County planned to make a positive identification today.

Dr. Harwood said an autopsy conducted yesterday showed Mr. Hale died of a neck fracture caused by the accident.

The coroner said Mr. Hale was headed from a Wakeman bar to a friend's house in Clarksfield. He was to attend a race June 9 at Norwalk Raceway Park but never showed up, the coroner said.

According a report filed with the Huron County sheriff's office, Mr. Hale's wife, Judy, reported him missing June 17. She told deputies she last saw her husband June 8, when they'd had a disagreement.

Mrs. Hale asked deputies to check a friend's home for her husband. They went to the home but couldn't find Mr. Hale.

Sheriff's deputies then put out an alert listing Mr. Hale as a missing person.

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