Body of naked homeless man found in creek

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A First Coast woman is in mourning after discovering her friend's naked body floating in a creek.

It happened Thursday morning in Silver Smith Creek in the 6800 block of Atlantic Boulevard in Arlington.

Karen Smith said she and the man, who she said went by the name Paige, were longtime friends and once homeless together.

"I've known him about t 10 years," she said.

Smith said while she was able to move out from under the creek's overpass, he continued to live there even though she begged him to move.

"I found out he was alone. I thought it would be good to go see him," she said.

What she thought would be another routine check-up took a tragic turn, though, when she discovered his naked body floating in the shallow water.

Sgt. Michael Paul with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said an early check of the scene found a nearby homeless camp that was disjointed and messy.

But at this point, Paul said foul play is not suspected in the man's death. He said it's possible the camp's appearance stemmed from people coming and going.

"Being that we don't see any trauma on the body, we're not treating this as anything suspicious at this time," he explained.

One theory investigators are exploring is the man's health failed while he was taking a bath.

Paul said, "Being found in the water the way he was, my assumption would be some sort of medical issue in the water."

Paul also confirmed police received reports the man was spotted alive over the last day or two. Smith just wishes he had taken her advice sooner.

"To get sober and to get a place to live," she said.

Positive identification of the body has not been made yet. First Coast News is awaiting autopsy results from the medical examiner's office.


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