An autopsy on a body found in a remote area in the Westlake community south of Dayton on Jan. 17 has been confirmed as belonging to Nathan Heathco, 22, of Baytown. The cause of death has been ruled a drowning, authorities say.
“Evidently, Mr. Heathco’s body was submerged in the small tributary off the Trinity River and when the water subsided, the body was left on the bank of the tributary where he was later found,” according to a statement from Capt. Ken DeFoor, a spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.
Heathco was the subject of a search by volunteers with Texas EquuSearch after he crashed his vehicle on FM 1409 on Sunday, Jan. 12. He reportedly was traveling to a friend’s house in the Westlake area when he lost control of his vehicle and ended up in the ditch.
A surveillance video from Liberty County ESD #3 (Westlake fire station) captured Heathco walking away from his vehicle toward a convenience store, where he spent a few moments before walking southward on FM 1409.
His body was found along the Trinity River tributary not far from the end of Private Road 442. The area is swampy and difficult to reach by vehicle, so sheriff’s investigators had to reach him on foot.
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