OTHO - Investigators hope to get preliminary autopsy results today that will help them determine what happened to a man whose body was found in a roadside ditch west of Otho Wednesday evening.
''We're just going to protect any evidence and we're going to proceed as if it's a homicide until we find out otherwise,'' Webster County Chief Deputy Rod Strait said Thursday evening.
He said that dental records will probably be used to positively identify the man. The body, he said, ''was in a state that it was decomposing.''
According to Strait, the body was found by a farmer mowing grass in a ditch in the 2500 mile of Madison Avenue. The farmer called Webster County 911 dispatchers at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday to report that he found what appeared to be human remains. Deputies responded to the scene and confirmed that the farmer had found the body of a man.
The body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Ankeny, where an autopsy was conducted Thursday.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday the manner of the man's death had been ruled a homicide, according to a report from the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
The death is being investigated by the Webster County Sheriff's Department, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Webster County Medical Examiner Dr. Dan Cole, the state medical examiner's office, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, the Fort Dodge Police Department and the Iowa State Patrol.
Strait said the Fort Dodge Police Department and Hamilton County Sheriff's Department became involved as the investigation spread into their jurisdictions.
Gerard Meyers, deputy director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, referred all questions to Strait.