An autopsy for Jonathan Ross Amerson was completed Friday morning at the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta, according to Richmond County deputy coroner Kenneth Boose.
Toxicology and histology results are pending, he said, and natural causes are not ruled out.
The hunter’s body was found in Phinizy Swamp on Wednesday afternoon,
Information received from family and friends was “invaluable” to the search, authorities say.
Sgt. Max Boswell with the Department of Natural Resources, who spearheaded the search for Amerson, said the hunter’s constant contact with family and friends was extremely useful in their search.
Amerson went missing around 10 a.m. Tuesday after telling a friend he was going duck hunting, according to the coroner’s office. The 31-year-old’s body was found in the swamp area around 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Boswell said there were no gunshot wounds or obvious cause of death.
“There was two ponds back in there from where his truck was that he had been known to hunt before and he had texted one of his friends that he was going to be in that area,” Boswell said Friday. “So all of those things were invaluable in trying to at least find a spot to start as the main search area and that’s where he was located.”
A GoFundMe account remains active as a memorial fund to the hunter. As of Friday afternoon the account raised $6,230, exceeding its $5,000 goal.
The management area offers opportunities to hunt deer, turkey, small game and waterfowl, according to its website. But it also poses harm to hunters, Boswell said. He lists wildlife, such as snakes and alligators, and the park’s “rough terrain” as potential threats that may cause one to go missing in the area.
“It’s really thick in some areas and of course you have big mud bogs in there and deep water holes where someone were to drown,” he said.”It’s not like somebody drowning at a lake or a pond where you have a starting and stopping point.”
The mud bogs and deep water holes are also dangers that crews consider when a person goes missing in the swamp area, Boswell said.
“It’s like finding a needle in a stack of needles,” he said.
He compared the department’s search to one in December 2003 during which another hunter, Chuck Logan, Jr., 41, went missing after entering Phinizy Swamp to hunt ducks. His remains were found two years later by a group of young hunters in an area of the swamp behind the Messerly Wastewater Treatment Plant near Doug Barnard Parkway.
As hunters continue to frequent the area they are reminded to do so in pairs and keep in close contact with their loved ones.
“The most important thing is to go with somebody,” Boswell said. “If they don’t have someone to go with they need to make sure someone knows when they’re going in and when they’re suppose to be coming out, and during that time they need to be in contact with somebody via cellphone or radio device of some kind.”