ID pending on body recovered from Lake Tahoe

Identification was pending Tuesday on a body recovered from the cold depths of Lake Tahoe that authorities suspect may be the remains of a man who disappeared 17 years ago.

A recreational diver found the remains submerged off Rubicon Point on Lake Tahoe's west shore last month, said Lt. Bryan Golmitz with the El Dorado County sheriff's office.

The diver alerted authorities, who located the body in 265 feet of water using an underwater remote operating vehicle, or ROV. Investigators are awaiting the results of a dental record comparison to make a positive identification.

"I think we're pretty close. We just need that last little part of ID," Golmitz said

Given the 35 degree water temperature, "the body was actually well preserved," Golmitz told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

"The diver was in complete gear - booties, gloves, hood. The scuba mask was not present," he said.

The ROV, measuring 22 inches long, 10 inches wide and 10 inches tall, is equipped with a mechanical claw that operators used to clamp on to a hose and pull the diver up.

Golmitz said the air tank showed it was certified in the early 1990s.

The finding has fueled speculation that the body could be that of Donald "Chis Windecker," a planner for the city of Reno who disappeared while scuba diving off Rubicon Point on July 10, 1994.

Media at the time reported Windecker and a diving partner entered the water from Bliss State Park and descended about 100 feet. His partner said that while surfacing, Windecker appeared to have problems with his equipment and began to sink.

The partner attempted to help him but was forced to the surface when he ran low on air.

Golmitz said there are been no recent reports of drowning victims, and the body of the recovered diver had been submerged for a long time.

"There are no other cases of a missing diver in that general area," he said.

He added there was no evidence to suggest foul play.


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