Park death possible suicide

McCUTCHENVILLE – Law enforcement officers and rescue workers responded to the scene of a body found in a truck parked in a lot on the upper level of Howard Collier State Nature Preserve Sunday afternoon.

Seneca County Sheriff Bill Eckelberry said he believed the death was a suicide. Officials weren’t able to find anything in the truck to identify the person in it and are going to look again today, he said.

They have spoken to the family of the owner of the truck, he said.

A Seneca County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said a man reported at 2:40 p.m. a blue Dodge Dakota that was running had been sitting in the lot for about 45 minutes.

The 115-acre park is located at 1655 W. TR 38, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Eckelberry said a deputy pulled up behind the vehicle and saw through the windows that the cab of the truck was filled with black smoke. The site, he said, reminded the deputy of an email the sheriff’s office had received from another law enforcement agency.

Eckelberry said email that had been sent within the past couple of weeks explained how people are taking their lives with chemicals. People mix chemicals, which creates a reaction that puts off a gas, and inhale toxic fumes, he said.

The sheriff said there was a jug on the floor of the truck’s cab, and it was difficult to tell what was in it.

“We’re thinking it was (a chemical situation),” Eckelberry said.

The deputy backed away from the truck. Personnel from McCutchenville Fire Department, New Riegel EMS, Seneca County Coroner’s Office, Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, Tiffin Police Department and Tiffin Fire Rescue Division responded to the scene.

Eckelberry said an “odd” smell was detected, and all vehicles except fire trucks pulled out of the park. The truck burst into flames and was destroyed.

Eckelberry said there was a possibility of danger to others if houses were closer to the scene. The fire department kept good track of the wind direction, and a firefighter was sent to the east end of TR 38 to block traffic, he said.

Eckelberry said two detectives from Tiffin Police Department were contacted because of training they had received about taking care of methamphetamine laboratories.

He contacted Dan Stahl, director of Seneca County’s Emergency Management Agency, and Stahl then contacted Chief Bill Ennis of Tiffin Fire Rescue Division about the use of the department’s equipment.

The body was released to the coroner’s office.