The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 14, 2014

Autopsy completed for Ottumwa drowning victim

CENTERVILLE — The autopsy of a woman who had been recovered from Lake Rathbun this weekend was completed Monday morning.

Kathy Sue Lukehart, 43, Ottumwa, a 1989 Ottumwa High School graduate, fell into the water from the dock near her boat.

"The cause of death is going to be certified as drowning, the manner is to be certified as accidental," said John Kraemer, director of forensic operations with the State of Iowa Medical Examiner's Office.

Appanoose County emergency personnel were called to Lake Rathbun around 1 a.m. Sunday. When Appanoose County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Rathbun Marina, they learned that Lukehart was on her boat, which was docked at the Rathbun Marina. Lukehart got off her boat and was standing on the dock. She was adjusting her clothing when she lost her balance and fell into the lake. Lukehart never surfaced, and witnesses immediately called 911. Witnesses told authorities the woman couldn't be located.

About an hour after she fell, she was found under the lake's surface near where she had gone into the water. Lukehart was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Centerville, where she was pronounced dead.

Emergency personnel from the sheriff’s office, Appanoose County Water Rescue, Iowa State Patrol, Mercy Ambulance, Mystic, Moravia and Centerville Fire and Iowa Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene and at the start of the rescue effort.

— Follow reporter Mark Newman on Twitter @couriermark

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