Death at campground in Portage ruled drowning
By AMy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent August 20, 2014 12:33PM
Updated: August 21, 2014 2:03AM
PORTAGE — Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris ruled Wednesday that a Portage man died after drowning at a lake in a local campground.
The body of Charles Gritton, 52, was recovered Tuesday afternoon by dive teams with the Portage, Chesterton and Porter fire departments after a search of Lake Minnehaha at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort, 5300 Old Porter Road.
“I found nothing anatomically wrong with him but his lungs had water in them that would be consistent with drowning,” Harris said, adding results from a toxicology screening will not be available for six weeks.
Harris did not have an estimate of how long Gritton was in the water before divers recovered his body.
The dive teams were called to the campground on the city’s north side at about 3 p.m. after a 911 call from Gritton’s girlfriend, who said the pair rented a campsite Monday evening and she had not heard from Gritton for several hours.
Gritton last spoke with his girlfriend at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and told her he was going for a walk and a swim. Rescue crews found a car at the campsite with Gritton’s clothes and wallet inside.
Porter Fire Department search dog Harley sniffed around the lake and found a possible point of entry for Gritton into the water. Divers searched the far west end of the lake in an organized pattern and, after about 90 minutes, found Gritton 110 feet from the shore in water that was about 20 feet deep.
The Portage Police Department assisted with the investigation.