Cause still unclear in Zephyr deaths |

Cause still unclear in Zephyr deaths

William Ferchland

Autopsy results on two men found dead in the waters of Lake Tahoe were not released Monday as authorities were waiting for toxicology reports.

The autopsies for Timothy Coleman of Gardnerville and Alex Haas of Minden, both 19, were completed Monday, two days after the men’s bodies were found floating in Lake Tahoe.

“The Washoe County Coroner’s Office has delayed making a definitive finding into the cause of death of the two young males found in the water of Lake Tahoe until toxicology results are completed within the next six to eight weeks,” Douglas County sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Mezzetta stated in a release.

Lt. Mike Biaggini, head of the department’s investigations unit, said the deaths had “no indication of any criminal activity.”

Earlier speculation was the two 2005 graduates of Douglas High School may have been killed by lightning. Biaggini said there is no indication lightning had anything to do with their deaths.

Biaggini believes the two died sometime Friday evening.

Coleman was discovered on the beach by a beachcomber on Saturday 500 yards north of Zephyr Cove Resort pier, authorities said. Based on a beach site that had two blankets and “more shoes than we had feet,” a search was conducted for another body, which turned out to be Haas’, found in 8 feet of water 30 feet from shore, Mezzetta stated.

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard said the lake was observed to be calm on Friday. But the observation was taken at 9 a.m., long before a lightning storm ripped through the area.

A toxicology report helps determine what chemicals are in a person’s body. Biaggini said there was no evidence the two were consuming alcohol.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.