Body found; no sign of foul play

2013-02-07T19:00:00Z 2013-03-25T13:02:16Z Body found; no sign of foul playBy NICHOLAS BERGIN / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Two Nebraska Department of Roads bridge inspectors found a body under the Salt Creek bridge near Sun Valley Boulevard and Interstate 180 early Thursday afternoon.

Rod Wroblewski and Shannon Erdman said they were doing a routine check of the bridge at about 2 o'clock when they spotted a man’s body curled up beneath a blanket, some rocks piled up nearby to make a windbreak.

"He just looks like he was taking a nap," said Wroblewski.

They called out and got no answer, they said, and it was pretty obvious the person was dead so they called authorities.

"It ain't pretty," Erdman said.

Lincoln Police Sgt. Valerie Kinghorn said an initial investigation showed no signs of foul play, though the cause of death will not be known until an autopsy is performed.

“It appears it (the death) could be natural. We’re not seeing anything that would be suspicious,” Kinghorn said. “With the campsite he had, it looked like he was alone.”

Kinghorn said the bridge doesn’t have a reputation as a place transients commonly frequent.

Investigators found a wallet on the body and were working to confirm the man's identity Thursday evening.

The bridge inspectors said it looked to them like the body had been there for some time. Several empty beer cans were nearby, they said.

They said they have walked under thousands of bridges and often find people camped out, sometimes with elaborate setups. But this is the first time they have found a body.

“It’s in the odds," Erdman said. "If you go under every bridge in the state, you’re going to find what we found."

Reach Nicholas Bergin at 402-473-7304 or nbergin@journalstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LJSBergin.

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