Fort Walton Beach Police Identify Body found Christmas Day

Authorities have identified the man, whose body washed up in the Choctawhatchee Bay Christmas Day, as 20-year-old Levi Barnes.

Barnes' body washed ashore behind a neighborhood on Bayview Drive.

The medical examiner's office says it was able to identify Barnes through dental records.

Right now investigators say they do not suspect foul play.

"We are still working with the medical examiner’s office, they still haven't published an autopsy result,” said Sgt. Matthew Holt, of the Fort Walton Police Department. “We are waiting for toxicology to come back to give us some clearer answers about to as what was going on with Levi."

Authorities believe Barnes was out in the water by himself the last time anyone saw him.

Although they did not say how long Barnes was in the water, extended periods of time can make it more difficult to identify the body and the cause of death.

"Depending on how long they have been in the water there are certain changes that occur to the body and so when we do an autopsy we want to rule out all other things prior to calling it a drowning,” said Jeff Martin, Director of Medical Examiner District One in Fort Walton Beach. “So we are going to do toxicology, so there are various other tests that have to be completed before we say the cause or manor of death."

Sergeant Holt could not reveal too many facts, but does say they do not think Barnes committed suicide.

Barnes only moved from Pensacola to Fort Walton beach a few months ago.

The case is still under investigation.


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