Man found dead in Prosser Reservoir
March 30, 2006
TRUCKEE – Nevada County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe the man they found dead in three feet of water in Prosser Reservoir Tuesday probably drowned, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Frank Koehler.
Deputies discovered the body of Christopher Gallagher, 43, outside of his SUV after his wife reported him missing to the Truckee Police Department Tuesday morning.
Officers and deputies investigated the wife’s report as a suspicious disappearance, which led them to an abandoned vehicle that had been reported by a passerby in Prosser Reservoir almost three weeks ago.
When investigators examined the vehicle at the water’s edge on Tuesday they determined the SUV was Gallagher’s 2000 Ford Excursion. As they broke ice around the vehicle to tow it, they found Gallagher outside of the driver’s side of the vehicle under 3 feet of water and ice, Koehler said.
A deputy on the scene recognized the body as Gallagher’s.
“The body did not show any signs of trauma, and there are no apparent obvious signs of suicide or homicide,” like bullet holes or bruises, Koehler said.
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The final cause of Gallagher’s death should be apparent after they receive toxicology reports, Koehler said. Tissue samples are being sent to a private laboratory in Oakland that contracts with Nevada County for forensic work.
The vehicle, which has been impounded as evidence, was found just over the city line in the unincorporated part of the county.
When she reported her husband missing on Tuesday, Gallagher’s wife told investigators that she didn’t contact them sooner because it wasn’t unusual for her husband to leave for periods of time, Koehler said.
On March 9, a citizen reported the Ford SUV in Prosser Reservoir to the sheriff’s office. Deputies investigated the SUV and found it unoccupied with the door open.
According to Koehler, the sheriff’s office then notified the U.S. Forest Service about the vehicle since it was on Forest Service property. The Forest Service was waiting for the lake to thaw before towing it, said Koehler.
“This time of year it’s not unusual” to find an abandoned vehicle in the local reservoirs, Koehler said. “Teenagers will go four-wheeling and leave a vehicle out there.”
– Grass Valley Union reporter Robyn Moormeister contributed to this report.