JOYCE — An unidentified man whose body was discovered along state Highway 112 near Joyce last week died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Clallam County Coroner Mark Nichols said Tuesday.
The body of the man, whose identity was not immediately confirmed in a Tuesday autopsy, was found in tall grass on the north side of the highway near Wye Road between mileposts 49 and 50 on Friday, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sgt. John Keegan said a possible identification was discovered, and it was believed that the man did not reside on the Olympic Peninsula.
Keegan said he would provide a name after it is confirmed and next of kin are notified.
“I don’t want anybody who has a missing person — because there are several in the state — to get false hope,” Keegan said in a Tuesday interview.
“We’re going to confirm the identification of this person, hopefully soon, be able to make notification to the family and friends and then do a press release. But I don’t want people to be miserable suffering and/or finding out until everything’s confirmed.”
In a Monday interview, Keegan said the man had been dead for at least a week when the body was discovered by a pedestrian at about 9 p.m. Friday.
The man was not carrying identification.
Given the state of decomposition, an autopsy was performed Tuesday at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office in Seattle.
“Cause and manner (of death) are suicide from perforating gunshot wound of head,” said Nichols, Clallam County’s prosecuting attorney and ex-officio coroner.
Nichols said the man had not been forensically identified as of 2:22 p.m. Tuesday.
A Clallam County search and rescue team combed the area where the body was found Sunday.
“Deputies did discover a firearm with the deceased when the scene was processed,” Keegan said in a Tuesday press release.
“Additionally, a bullet consistent with the firearm was located a short distance away during the evidence search performed by the Clallam County Search and Rescue Team.”
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office received at least three tips from residents who reported missing loved ones after a description of the man’s clothing was disseminated Sunday evening.
Deputies followed up on each of the leads and determined that the person who was found dead was unrelated.
“Most of them were concerned that it was their friends and family that they haven’t seen in some time locally,” Nichols said.
“We were either able to eliminate those people because we actually found them and talked to them, or it would be inconsistent to what we found.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected]