2018-10-11 / Front Page

Foul play ruled out in drowning

The death of the 34-year old Chicago man nearly 10 weeks ago has been ruled an accident. The Michigan State Police completed its investigation and has determined the cause of death of Gilbert Druja to be an “accidental drowning.”

There were no signs of physical trauma, said State Trooper Jason Tropf. He added that the autopsy found a small amount of marijuana in Druja’s system and a blood alcohol content of .02 percent. The threshold for drunk driving is .08 percent.

Despite lingering questions about what happened, Tropf said there is no evidence pointing to foul play. The Leelanau County Prosecutor’s office today received the final report. County Prosecutor Joseph T. Hubbell, state police and the medical examiner have concurred there is no evidence of suspicious activity surrounding the death.

“We interviewed his boyfriend and family, knocked on doors and we weren’t able to determine how he ended up in the lake,” Tropf said.

“Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where nobody will know what happened between the time he left the gas station and the time he ended up in the lake.”

Tropf added that based on conversations with family members, Druja did not know how to swim.

On Aug. 3 a suspicious incident was reported at MC Short Stop gas station in Maple City when Druja’s Honda Fit was found running with the gas pump nozzle still in the vehicle.

Surveillance footage showed the vehicle driving up to the pump around 3 a.m. and the driver walking away a short time later.

That same morning, a homeowner between Maple City and the Lime Lake boat access reported an unidentified male came to his door saying he was lost.

Two days later, on Sunday, Aug. 5, Druja’s body was recovered by Sheriff’s deputies about 7:30 a.m. “fully clothed (in tennis shoes, jeans and a shirt) and still wearing his glasses,” Tropf said.

— by Jen Murphy

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