Body found in Fruita canal identified

A man whose body was discovered in an irrigation canal in Fruita Wednesday has been identified as 34-year-old Donald A. VanMatre of Grand Junction.

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office said this morning that VanMatre drowned and ruled the manner of death as accident. His blood alcohol level was 0.346, more than four times the limit for a motorist to be considered intoxicated.

A woman retrieving her mail Wednesday afternoon found VanMatre’s body in the canal. Coroner’s officials said they believe VanMatre was walking to visit a friend when he fell into the canal. His body traveled 17 miles through the canal system before being discovered.


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