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Superior man’s death in Proctor swamp ruled accidental

Forum News Service

A Superior man whose body was pulled from a swamp near Proctor last month died from methamphetamine toxicity and other factors, authorities said Wednesday.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, which conducted an autopsy and toxicology tests, ruled the death of 51-year-old Jack Allen Cotrell an accident, according to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.

Cotrell’s body was found by searchers on Oct. 24 near the intersection of Ugstad and Stark roads in Midway Township, just west of the CN railyard in Proctor. He had not been heard from since Oct. 1, when authorities said he and three accomplices were seen trespassing and stealing copper wire from the railyard.

Sgt. Wade Rasch said investigators believe Cotrell died while trying to cross the swamp to avoid detection. Workers called 911 but responding officers were unable to locate any suspects that night.

“The investigation into Cotrell's death found no evidence of foul play with regards to his actual death,” Rasch said. “However, the behavior by his associates after his death was reprehensible. These individuals would not come forward or volunteer their information to assist with locating Cottrell for fear of getting in trouble for stealing copper.”

The autopsy concluded that water immersion and pulmonary emphysema were also significant factors in Cotrell’s death.