Missing man’s body recovered
A body recovered from the Susquehanna River near Meshoppen Thursday has been positively identified as the man who went missing in Laceyville on March 30.
An autopsy was conducted Friday afternoon, Wyoming County Coroner Thomas Kukuchka said, and the body was positively identified as Thomas Christopher Yates, 43, of Bellmore, New York.
The release of the man’s identity was upheld 24 hours pending notification of his immediate family.
Coroner Kukuchka said the manner of death was identified as freshwater drowning.
However, the nature of death – whether it might be considered accidental or a possible homicide- was a matter for state police.
State Tpr. John Youngblood of the Tunkhannock barracks confirmed that an investigation is ongoing.
Yates’ older brother, David Michael Yates, 46, of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., has been charged with aggravated assault of Thomas Yates’ twin brother Richard, the morning Thomas went missing.
The older brother’s preliminary hearing in that matter was scheduled for last Thursday, but has been continued until June 5.
The brothers were attending a funeral service in Laceyville and went to a local home afterward.
Police said that when a heated argument arose, the siblings were asked to leave.
Thomas Yates, who had cerebral palsy and a pronounced limp, was walking toward the bridge over the Susquehanna River about 3 a.m., March 30, when David Yates allegedly assaulted Richard Yates.
Soon after, the two noticed Thomas was gone.
Local dive and rescue teams searched unsuccessfully for Thomas’ body between Laceyville and Mehoopany on April 5.