Homeless man found in canal drowned

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An autopsy has determined that the 50-year-old homeless man found dead in the Augusta Canal on Wednesday morning drowned.

Several employees of Enterprise Mill discovered the body of Herman Johnson about 7:40 a.m., according to Richmond County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen. His body was held by the canal's current at a bar rack, which prevents logs and other large debris from entering the mill's turbines.

Mr. Bowen said Mr. Johnson was last seen walking on the towpath about 12 hours earlier by some of the mill's employees. Authorities initially thought Mr. Johnson had been in the water for more than 24 hours but have since scaled it back to about 10 hours.

Richmond County sheriff's crime scene and homicide investigators were at the canal as Mr. Johnson's body was pulled from the water, but they will not be looking into the death.

Sheriff's Homicide Investigator James Kelly said it did not appear that any foul play was involved. He said they are not sure where Mr. Johnson fell into the water.

"We have no idea where he fell in at," Investigator Kelly said. "He could have floated for a while."

According to Mr. Bowen, there were no clear signs that it was a homicide, but they are doing a blood test to check for drugs and alcohol.

"We don't suspect any foul play, but we do want toxicology to see what was all in his system," he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (10) Add comment
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Brenda_G
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Brenda_G 07/23/09 - 05:32 am
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He was someone's child and

He was someone's child and deserves the FULL investigation. RIP, Mr. Johnson.

onlynaugusta
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onlynaugusta 07/23/09 - 06:34 am
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Just beacuse he is homeless

Just beacuse he is homeless doesn't mean he shouldn't get the same type of investigation as a regular individual.

blazestr
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blazestr 07/23/09 - 07:19 am
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They should totally

They should totally investigate into this. It's obvious that people knew who he was, so they need to get down to the bottom of what really happened.

confederate american
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confederate american 07/23/09 - 09:20 am
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does it come to mind that

does it come to mind that someone might have pushed him in knowing he couldn't swim,are didn't care

irish62009
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irish62009 07/23/09 - 09:51 am
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He was homeless,no money,no

He was homeless,no money,no job,of course the police are not looking into it,who cares,a waste of time and money.God help us all for becoming so heartless.

yeahright
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yeahright 07/23/09 - 11:18 am
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Mr. Johnson was a customer at

Mr. Johnson was a customer at my previous place of employment. He was not crazy or stupid by any means. No one goes swimming in the canal for the fun of it. His death needs to be investigated.

christie
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christie 07/23/09 - 12:01 pm
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God bless him and may he

God bless him and may he finally be at peace. There needs to be a full investigation.

sugarbutton
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sugarbutton 07/23/09 - 12:10 pm
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Sadly, it's like that when

Sadly, it's like that when you go to a hospital too with no insurance or a job. Thankfully, I have a job and benefits, but know many who don't and are turned away immediately or kept on hold in the ER for hours and hours.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 07/23/09 - 01:56 pm
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I agree yeahright. I hope

I agree yeahright. I hope that it is fully investigated. The sheriff's department has had a very good record of resolving recent cases the last couple of years, so I trust that they will.

gonnamakeit
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gonnamakeit 07/24/09 - 12:58 am
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Mr. Johnson had recently been

Mr. Johnson had recently been staying at the Garden City Rescue Mission, which is a ministry of the church I attend. During a Sunday service less than a month ago, he made a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and was baptized. His family can take comfort in knowing that he is spending eternity with Jesus Christ and living in a mansion!

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