44-year-old Trotwood man identified as person found in car submerged in Great Miami River

A team from the Dayton Fire Department responded to the Great Miami River just after 2 p.m. on Monday to search for a vehicle that was spotted in the water. A tow truck helped to recover the vehicle, and a sheet was placed on the back window as it emerged from the water. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF
A team from the Dayton Fire Department responded to the Great Miami River just after 2 p.m. on Monday to search for a vehicle that was spotted in the water. A tow truck helped to recover the vehicle, and a sheet was placed on the back window as it emerged from the water. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

A missing man found in a car that was pulled from the Great Miami River on Monday has been identified.

The man is Cory L. Christon, 44, of Trotwood, according to Montgomery County Coroner Kent Harshbarger.

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His cause and manner of death have not been determined. However, initial reports show no foul play, said Mark Hess, chief of public safety for Five Rivers MetroParks.

Law enforcement was first alerted to possibility that the vehicle was in the water on Jan. 1 after a hit and run crash was reported in Sunrise Park.

A person walking a dog in the area reported a small tree at the top of the levee had been hit by a vehicle and that a license plate was left at the scene, said Hess

Rangers who responded to the scene did not find evidence that vehicle had traveled down the levee or that one was in the river.

“There were some visible tire tracks in the park at the site of the crash at the top of the levee,” Hess said. “We could not tell for sure if it was from the same car that was involved in the crash.”

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He noted that there were no known witnesses to the crash or 911 calls reporting the incident.

On Jan. 4, Christon’s father reported him as missing to Trotwood police.

“Once it was discovered that the now-missing man was the same person that was involved in the crash, we decided to re-double our efforts to locate the car in the river,” Hess said.

On Jan. 5, Ohio State Highway Patrol Traffic Crash Reconstruction team members went out to the scene. MetroParks rangers worked with Vandalia police to use a drone to search the river from above and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Water Rescue used an underwater drone and sonar-equipped boat.

“The car was not found, and again, there was no evidence to believe the car was in the river,” Hess said.

It is not clear how long the car was in the river. An investigation into Christon’s disappearance showed that his phone stopped operating on Dec. 31, leading investigators to believe that’s when the incident took place.

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