Palo Alto Sheriff’s Office investigating body recovered from lake

RUTHVEN — The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a body of a 27-year-old man was recovered from Virgin Lake, south of Ruthven, on July 22.

The sheriff’s office received a report from a passerby of a possible body in the lake around 1:16 p.m. on July 22. According to the release from the department, deputies observed a body about 25 feet from the shore east of the boat ramp in the 3700 block of 353rd Avenue.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was called in and the body was recovered from the lake and transported to the state medical examiner in Ankeny for autopsy.

The Palo Alto Sheriff’s Office identified the body as Rollin J. Bontrager, of Washington.

Sheriff’s deputies executed search warrants at two residences in Emmetsburg on July 31. Three vehicles were also searched.

According to the sheriff’s office, “numerous items” were seized and will be analyzed.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office is being assisted by the DCI, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Palo Alto County Coroner, Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office, the Emmet County and Clay County sheriff’s offices, Emmetsburg and Spencer police departments and the DCI Crime Scene Unit.

The results of the autopsy have not yet been released.

Law enforcement is continuing to investigate this incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office at 712-322-1585.


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