Police Identify Man Who Drowned In Winona Lake Tuesday Morning

Emergency personnel stand by as boaters and divers search for the possible drowning victim Tuesday morning along the shoreline north of the Winona Lake Park beach. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union.

WINONA LAKE – The man whose body was recovered from Winona Lake Tuesday morning has been identified as Anthony Steven Milton, 25, of 533 E. Center St., Warsaw.

At approximately 8:33 a.m. Tuesday, Warsaw police were dispatched to check on the welfare of a man with red hair yelling at passing motorists while on the property of Walgreens, 2400 E. Center St. About six minutes later, officers checked the area but were unable to locate the man, according to a news release Tuesday afternoon from WPD Public Information Officer Capt. Brad Kellar.

At 9:38 a.m., Winona Lake police were notified of a man with red hair that was yelling and appeared to be in distress in the water of Winona Lake, just off the beach and pier area, at 1590 Park Ave., Winona Lake, the news release states.

A witness said she saw the man and he had orange or reddish dyed hair. She said he was about 5 foot, 10 inches and looked to her to be late teens or early 20s. She heard him “raging” and he removed some of his clothing before sitting on the seawall  for a bit before going into the lake. He left his personal items behind, according to Winona Lake Fire Department Public Information Officer Mike Cox.

The news release states Winona Lake police were first on scene and, with the use of a civilian boat, began searching the area. Conditions on the water at that time were very foggy and visibility was difficult, the release states.

Almost immediately, divers and boats were requested, along with the Warsaw Dive Team, comprised of manpower from Warsaw Police and Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory. Additionally, divers and a boat from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office also were on scene.

At 10:38 a.m., the rescue effort turned to one of recovery. At 11:53 a.m., divers reported finding a deceased victim at the bottom of the lake at approximately 6.5 feet of water.

The Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office was called at that time. The victim was recovered from the water and taken back to shore where the body was turned over to the coroner.

Asked what the key was to finding the man, Winona Lake Town Marshal Joe Hawn said, “There was a witness statement that said they saw him getting into the water. So after the witness statement, then we brought the dive boats in to be able to find him with the sonar. And that’s what they eventually did – they found him basically right at the crest where it starts going down out there.”

The lake depth drops down to about 30 feet at that point, he said.

“He was right at that break level point,” Hawn said.

Asked if the drowning may have been a suicide, he said they do not know at this point.

Investigators were able to make positive identification of the deceased man from tattoos and he also matched descriptions given in the earlier two calls for service, according to the news release. Law enforcement made notification of the incident to the family.

Winona Lake Police, Indiana Conservation Police and the Coroner’s Office are still investigating this incident. Anyone with information is asked to call the Winona Lake Police Department at 574-267-8622.

Assisting in the rescue and recovery efforts were Winona Lake Police and Fire, Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory, WPD, KCSO, Indiana Conservation Officers, Indiana State Police, Lutheran EMS and the Coroner’s Office.