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Medical examiner: Man drowned in West Valley City canal

Published November 28, 2012 4:47 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An autopsy has confirmed that a 43-year-old man, whose body was found in a West Valley City canal in September, died from drowning.

West Valley City police Sgt. Mike Powell said the death of Richard Anthony Byrd, 43, was deemed to be accidental.

He said authorities don't know how Byrd drowned in the 3 or 4 feet of water in which he was found, but said an autopsy turned up nothing suspicious.

Some teenagers discovered Byrd's body in the water at about 6:55 a.m. on Sept. 14 near 4100 South and 5800 West, while they were walking to school. The canal is just west of Hunter High School.

Byrd — who had a lengthy criminal history — was being investigated by the Salt Lake City police in connection with a 1994 cold case murder in the November 1994 fatal shooting of Cornelia Salt, 22, who was found dead in a rental car on a dead end circle near Jordan Park.

Salt Lake City police said Wednesday that after consulting with the district attorney's office they had closed the investigation into Salt's death.

Janelle Stecklein