WILLIAMSON - Police say despite speculation suggesting something else, all of the agencies involved with the investigation into the death of a well-known area man have officially concluded that the death was accidental.
Police say an investigation into the case and subsequent ruling of accidental death was reached in the death of Scott Poole, a 30-year-old Williamson resident and businessman whose body was discovered on the river side of the 44-foot-high Williamson floodwall on June 22.
Williamson Police Chief Barry Blair said early in the investigation that it was reported that Poole’s death was the result of a suicide. Blair said that, because unattended deaths are initially treated by police as homicides until investigation of the evidence points to a different outcome, subsequent speculation was that Poole had been the victim of foul play.
“At the beginning of the investigation there were rumors that Mr. Poole’s death was the result of a suicide jump from the floodwall,” Blair said. “After that was determined not to be the case, there was speculation he had been in an altercation with unknown assailants and that his death likely resulted from that.
“But after we conducted our investigation, which included many interviews with his friends and those that were with him just prior to his death, as well as an exhaustive examination of the evidence and his injuries, there really isn’t any doubt that it was just a tragic accident,” Blair said.
The police chief said the relatively small number of outward injuries Poole suffered, as well as their specific location on his body, strongly suggested a fall. He said the close proximity of Poole’s body to the floodwall was also consistent with a fall and not a jump.
Another aspect of the investigation, Blair said, particularly regarding the suicide possibility, was a thorough investigation into Poole’s mental state leading up to, and at the time of, his death.
“There was nothing about his character that even slightly suggested this was a suicide,” Blair said. “He was very active in the community, very involved with his friends, and a really successful businessman.
“I’m not sure why he was on the wall that night, whether he was attempting to tightrope walk the top of the wall or just going to sit down on it,” the police chief said. “But both the State Medical Examiner’s office and Mingo County Coroner Mike Casey agreed that all the evidence indicates this was simply an accidental fall.”